By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A 20-year-old woman who was abducted over the weekend has been found dead near Sioux Falls and a 19-year-old man identified as a “person of interest” in the case is in custody, police said Tuesday.

The body of Pasqalina Esen Badi was found Monday afternoon along a road just outside the Sioux Falls city limits, police said. Badi disappeared soon after leaving work at about 5 a.m. Sunday.

The man in custody was arrested on outstanding warrants including assaulting a law enforcement officer and fleeing from justice. Soon after police announced Tuesday they had found Badi’s body, they said they had issued a fresh warrant for the same suspect in a reported abduction attempt at about 3 a.m. Jan. 1.

In that case, a woman told police she was walking to her car when a man walked up and threatened her with a knife. She said he pushed her to the passenger’s seat and tried to drive away, before eventually running away.

Lt. Terry Matia said police believe the man in custody in Badi’s abduction may have approached another woman in the same area and around the same time as Badi was taken.

Matia did not say what may have caused Badi’s death. An autopsy is planned for this week.

Badi’s Facebook profile describes her as a native of Eritrea who graduated from Washington High School in Phoenix.

A GoFundMe page set up for Badi describes her as “always laughing, helping someone with advice, a shoulder to lean on. She was a hard worker, never missed a day of work. Her dream was to go to colleges to become a phlebotomist and she was working towards that goals before she was taken from us.”

The creator of the page, who identified herself as Badi’s cousin, declined an interview request from The Associated Press.

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