Missing man identified in UF homicide

Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 12:34 a.m.
Police have not identified the body of a man found dead inside a University of Florida housing complex three days ago, but confirmed that the apartment's resident, a graduate assistant from India, is missing.
Friends and acquaintances of Sudheer Reddy Satti, 24, who did not want to be identified, also said Tuesday they fear he may be the victim in the university's first homicide case in at least 25 years.
Satti was last seen by friends Dec. 31, UF Police Lt. Joe Sharkey said.
Two friends concerned about Satti's well-being asked officials Sunday to check his apartment at No. 7 in building 382 at Maguire Village, a graduate student and family housing complex off SW 34th Street. Inside, officers found the body of a man in the back bedroom of the first-floor apartment. The door and windows in the apartment were locked, police said. There was no sign of a forced entry.
The body, police reported, could have been in the home for more than a day before it was discovered.
Sharkey said police cannot say that Satti is the person discovered inside the apartment. Investigators have not elaborated on why the man has not yet been identified except that they are awaiting a positive identification from the Medical Examiner's Office.
A statement released Tuesday by the area's medical examiner, Dr. William Hamilton, confirmed that the case is "clearly a homicide" but said he had no other information about the case.
A cause of death has not been released by investigators.
But police acknowledge there has been no contact with Satti, who lived alone at the apartment.
Sharkey also said police have contacted Satti's family in India to report he is missing.
Satti came to the United States to work on his graduate degree at UF in 2000, Sharkey said. He graduated with a master's degree in civil engineering in 2002. He continued at the university as a graduate assistant.
Satti was in the doctorate program in civil engineering at UF, said UF assistant professor Ilir Bejleri, but he planned to pursue a doctorate out-of-state at the University of New Hampshire to work with a professor who had transferred from UF.
Bejleri said he has known Satti for more than two years and that he had been a student in his class on advanced geographic information systems and later was invited to help teach the class. He also had been hired as a research assistant. The professor said he last spoke with Satti, who was in his office, on Dec. 31 when they discussed research work. Satti had worked with the St. Johns River Water Management District on a project that predicts how water volumes change based on available water resources.
Bejleri described Satti as very intelligent and hardworking and said he was liked by the people he worked with. "He's one of the best students that I've had," he said.
"I don't find any kind of logical explanation for this at all," Bejleri said. "I don't see why anybody would really want to hurt him."
Satti was scheduled to leave Gainesville on Jan. 9, Sharkey said.
An Indian news report lists Satti's name as Sudhir Reddy and says he is from Andhra Pradesh in eastern India. His father, the report states, is an officer for the Pay and Accounts Office there. It also says the area's state government has written to the Union Ministry of External Affairs asking for details about the incident.
Other law enforcement agencies, including the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and the Gainesville Police Department, have been working with University Police on the case.
On Tuesday, Sharkey said police worked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and said some items were removed from the Maguire Village apartment.
University officials said security at the complex would be increased as the investigation continued.
More than 70 percent of the residents living in family housing are foreign students, the university reported.
Meetings were held for residents Monday evening to discuss their concerns about the case.
Sharon Blansett, an assistant director of UF's Department of Housing, attended the two sessions and said residents seemed frustrated at the lack of information provided to them about the homicide. She said she empathized but acknowledged that investigators were having a difficult time identifying the body.
"We all want to know what happened," Blansett said. "That's just human nature."
While some residents say they believe the complex is secure, others say they feel differently and plan to take more precautions.
Blansett also said residents at Maguire Village have not asked to move out because of the incident.
Anyone with information about Satti is asked to contact the University Police Department at (352)392-1111.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com. Sun staff writer Janine Young Sikes contributed to this report.

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