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‘We’re Just Terrified’: Family Of Missing Arizona Teen With Autism Say They Suspect He Was Kidnapped
Najib Monsif was last seen by his father at their Scottsdale home on Sept. 22, according to authorities.
The family of an Arizona man who mysteriously vanished from his home nearly two weeks ago said they are convinced he was abducted as authorities continue their search for him this week.
Najib Monsif, 20, was last seen by his father at their Scottsdale home on Sept. 22, according to authorities. He was reported missing the following day. Monsif, who lives with autism and has difficulty walking, is verbal but has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, his family said. He’s required special care his entire life, they added.
“My brother is physically and mentally vulnerable,” his 24-year-old sister, Josie Monsif, told Oxygen.com. “[He] cannot defend himself [or] navigate a dangerous situation. He is helpless.”
Najib Monsif Sr., 60, said that he fell asleep downstairs in the home the night the teen vanished. He told police he woke up around 2 a.m. when he heard his son throw away food; he later drifted back to sleep, according to the family. When he awoke about five hours later, Monsif was nowhere to be found. There were no signs of forced entry to the home, police said.
“He cannot go far,” Josie Monsif added. “It’s been two weeks. Why is he not found yet? It makes no sense. People just don’t disappear.”
Following Monsif’s disappearance, authorities scoured the surrounding neighborhood by foot and by drone, including shopping malls, parks, canals, and other locations Monsif was known to go. A police search of his electronic devices did not lead to any clues, according to his family.
Scottsdale Police confirmed they’ve received multiple tips regarding possible sightings of Monsif around Scottsdale and neighboring cities, but they said that the trail has gone cold. The FBI, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and state authorities are also working on the case. A statewide Silver Alert remains active.
Monsif’s loved ones said they are now convinced he was kidnapped.
“If you logically think about this, someone is involved in taking my brother,” Josise Monsif said. “The police are looking tirelessly. They haven’t found a body. There’s not one single sighting of my brother on video, on neighborhood stores, on Ring doorbells, they’re searching people’s homes. They have no idea where my brother is. I know they’re doing everything they can.”
The family said they fear he may have gotten into a car with a stranger and is now being held against his will.
“We’re just terrified and we just want to know where he is,” his sister said. “We want whoever is involved to come forward and bring my brother back...People are raking the neighborhood and I’m like, this isn’t right — he would have been here.”
According to family members, Monsif repeated a flippant and ominous remark in the days leading up to his disappearance.
“You’re never going to see me again,” Monsif told his father and his brother, on separate occasions, according to his sister. At the time, the family didn’t make anything of the cryptic statement.
“He just vanished after that,” Josie Monsif said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
The Monsifs are adamant, however, that he wasn’t physically or mentally capable of running away of his own volition.
“He doesn’t even know his address,” his sister explained. “He can’t jump over fences, he can’t hide very easily. He lived with the clothes on his back. Anyone that thinks he’s just out there wandering around needs a reality check because that’s just not the situation.”
Scottsdale Police declined to comment on whether foul play may have led to Monsif’s disappearance.
“We’re doing everything we can to try and locate Mr. Monsif,” Sgt. Kevin Quon, public information officer for the Scottsdale Police Department, told Oxygen.com on Tuesday. “We’re not ruling anything out, any leads, anything that is available. We’re accepting every tip that comes in.”
Monsif’s family has conducted and assisted volunteer search parties, handed out fliers, and created social media outreach to spread awareness surrounding the case. “Finding Najib”, a Facebook page dedicated to finding him, now has thousands of followers.
On Oct. 2, hundreds of people turned out for a candlelit vigil for Monsif in Scottsdale.
“This community wants to see him home safe with his family — soon,” Pastor Matt Anderson of the McDowell Mountain Community Church, who spoke at the vigil, told Oxygen.com. “It has been inspiring and encouraging to see a community surround this family in such a moment of crisis...It’s a picture of what community should look like — love, compassion, hope, support.”
Anderson, who noted he didn't know Monsif personally, said his son attended school with his siblings.
"He brings a smile and joy to those he encounters," Anderson added.
The Monsif family moved to Arizona from Akron, Ohio about 16 years ago due to health concerns related to Najib, who also has an autoimmune deficiency.
“From such a young age, my brother struggled with autism and it was always such a big part of my family,” Josie Monsif said. “We all try to lift him up as much as possible so he could get the care he needed and he brought us so close together.”
Monsif’s family described him as a playful, compassionate, gentle young man who loves kids and animals.
“He’s just such a wise soul, he’s just one of those really special people that you know is just truly a child in his heart and an angel but also carries the wisdom of someone who knows more about life than anyone without special needs ever could,” Josie Monsif said.
His sister added he’s a “meticulous” gamer and a “man of few words” who is obsessed with YouTube and adores playing Xbox with his older brother. He also played in the Miracle League of Arizona, an adaptive baseball program for children and adults with special needs.
Monsif weighs approximately 100 pounds and is six feet tall. He was last seen wearing dark clothing. He’s described as Middle Eastern and having a thin build. He goes by the nickname “Jubi.” His family said is known to wear moccasins that cause him to shuffle step while he walks and often covers his nose with his shirt.
Anyone with information related to Monsif’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Scottsdale Police Department at 480-312-5000.