OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The good news is that Aisha Khan is alive and well. But many questions remain as to why the University of Kansas-Edwards student faked her own abduction, and the answers may be difficult to find.
Khan, 19, had apparently vanished last Friday, and her cell phone and school books were found on the KU-Edwards campus. The woman’s family reported her missing after her sister received a frantic voicemail from Khan saying that a man was harassing her.
On Wednesday, Overland Park Police announced that they had made contact with Khan, verified her identity and confirmed she was safe and had not been abducted or held against her will. Police also said no criminal acts were committed and the missing person investigation is complete and no further action will be taken.
In a statement Wednesday night, Kahn’s family said they are grateful Kahn has been found safe and unharmed.
“Our prayers have been answered. The family is very ecstatic about this,” said Aamer Trabu, family spokesman. “The family is very, very grateful to all the people who have been involved.”
But now that it is clear that Khan had simply walked away from her family, some people are debating whether Khan or her family owe the public an explanation of what happened. Missey and Greg Smith, parents of Kelsey Smith – who was kidnapped and murdered in 2007, consulted with Khan’s family when she disappeared last week and were called when she was found. They say that there’s a difference between public curiosity and a need to know.
“It’s a shame that community resources were expended on something that wasn’t really an emergency situation, but the bottom line I have to keep coming back to (is) she’s alive. We know she’s okay. Whatever the issues are within in that family, that’s something that they have to deal with and I don’t know that we have a right to be involved in that,” said Greg Smith.
In a statement on their blog, Overland Park Police acknowledge the questions the public may have regarding Khan’s disappearance. In their blog, Police Chief John Douglas said:
“The most important fact for us all to remember is that she is safe. Everything else is now a personal family matter and we respect their privacy. Law enforcement officials were able to find, identify, and verify last night that she was not abducted and that no crime occurred. I want to thank everyone who dedicated their time and effort to this case. In the end, one that was missing has now been found.”
Retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza says that while the public isn’t necessarily entitled to answers, it may be in the Khan’s best interest to provide some.
“The public wants answers,” said Lanza. “Otherwise people will be speculating and comes to their own conclusions. I would rather have people understand what really happened here than to run rampant speculation.”
A family friend told FOX 4 that Aisha khan’s parents will probably speak to the media on Friday. He says that as of today, the family is hoping law enforcement will put them in touch with their daughter, as Aisha Khan still has chosen not to speak with her own family.