Abdullahi Muya: Missing man's body remained in Rochester reservoir supplying drinking water for weeks

Abdullahi Muya: Missing man's body remained in Rochester reservoir supplying drinking water for weeks
Abdullahi Muya, a Rochester resident, was missing since February (Rochester PD/ News 8/YouTube)

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: The recent discovery of a dead man in a reservoir supplying drinking water to Rochester residents has sparked an investigation into how the body went unnoticed for nearly a month.

The body was found earlier this week, prompting a temporary boil water advisory in the area.

The deceased individual was identified as 29-year-old Abdullahi Muya, a Rochester resident who had been missing since February. Police investigations revealed that Muya's body had been in the water for almost a month after he entered the gated area on February 24.

Insights into Abdullahi Muya's disappearance 

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans addressed the situation at a press conference, revealing that the body was discovered in the Highland Park Reservoir on Tuesday morning, March 19. Following the discovery, immediate measures were taken to "shut off and bypassed as part of the city's water distribution system."

"Our testing has shown no issues," Evans claimed. "...Out of an abundance of caution we have issued a boil water advisory. ... The reservoir will not be back in service until it has been drained and cleaned."


"After entering the gated area, at approximately 6:30 am, Mr. Muya appears to have slid down the side of the reservoir, into the water, where he tragically died," authorities said. "There was no one else present at the time of Mr Muya's death and their [sic] does not appear to be any criminal element to this investigation." 

Mayor Malik Evans updates on water safety measures

Despite concerns about water safety due to the body's presence, water quality tests "confirmed the safety of the water supply," leading to the lifting of the boil water advisory.

"Our own data collected in the weeks and months prior to that mirrored those findings," Evans added, alleging he drank some of the city's water this morning. 

"As I have always touted, the quality of our water wins awards regularly. So our water was never in question," reported CBS

Mayor Malik Evans voices concerns over oversight following discovery of Abdullahi Muya's body

Further, Mayor Evans expressed concern over how Muya's body remained undetected for such a long period, considering the daily inspections conducted at the reservoir.

"The bureau is patrolled regularly by city security and water bureau personnel," Evans stated, the site is equipped with sophisticated equipment to monitor water quality and detect disturbances.

"And yet, we did not know that Mr. Muya had gotten into the area or that he had entered the water."  


The water in the reservoir is 15 feet deep, and Muya's body was discovered "well below the surface," stated Evans, positioned within the shadows of the north side of the reservoir. This could potentially account for why he remained undetected until now.

"Reflection waves and shadows at this specific location can obscure the view of the bottom," he said. "Obviously, this is very traumatic for the water bureau team." 

The city is now focused on enhancing security measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. The process of refilling the reservoir will be undertaken over the coming months as part of the city's efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of its water supply.

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