Homicide detectives investigating death of UM student

Update, 5:30 p.m., Oct. 9: Police are looking for an individual who they say was involved in a “suspicious incident” at the Santona Condominiums. The individual is wanted for questioning only at this time. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective B. Jurado at 305-471-2400 or @CrimeStopper305 at 305-471-8477.

Miami-Dade Police homicide detectives are investigating after a University of Miami architecture student was found dead Sunday afternoon.

Yasser Talal Ibrahim Abualfaraj was found “with multiple signs of trauma” inside his apartment in the 6500 block of Santona Street in Coral Gables, a flyer from the Miami-Dade Police Department Homicide Bureau said. Police are calling the death a homicide.

A statement from UM Communications identified Abualfaraj, 23, as a third-year architecture student, and said that the school was “deeply saddened” by the news. Abualfaraj is the third University of Miami student who has died during the fall 2018 semester.

“It has been a very tough and sad start to the semester,” said Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs. “We are doing our best to support the entire UM community.”

Source: Miami-Dade Police Department

Architecture classes have been cancelled for Monday Oct. 8, Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury announced to students and faculty in the architecture courtyard shortly after the UM Communications statement was sent.

“A member of our community passed away, and we are taking time to grieve and take care of each other,” el-Khoury said.

A vigil honoring Abualfaraj will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the architecture courtyard.

“He was the first person that said hello to me when I transferred to the school,” said Emily Fusilero, a junior architecture student. “All of our classmates and study mates that hung out with him are going to be remembering him always, and his work. Hopefully some of his work can stay around so we can see the things that he’s made.”

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Miami-Dade Police Department Homicide Detective B. Jurado at 305-471-2400. To remain anonymous, callers can contact Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477). Tips leading to an arrest may earn the tipster a reward of up to $3,000.

Whitely said the school is working closely with Abualfaraj’s “fellow students in the School of Architecture to support them during this unimaginable sadness,” and that “Counseling Center staff and chaplains are available.”

The UM community can access grief counselors and support staff through the Counseling Center at 305-284-5511, as well as university chaplains through the Dean of Students Office.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.