Crack detective work

The family of a missing Silver Spring man finds out he is dead. Their first clue was when they got a bill from the hospital.

Hospital officials told Hossain that federal law prohibited them from releasing any information on the patient. For the next 16 hours, they pleaded with police and hospital officials to tell them whether they knew the whereabouts of Abedin.

"Can you tell me what happened to this person?" Hossain said he asked repeatedly of hospital officials. "Is he still alive or dead?"

On Jan. 6, Hossain was finally told to go to the D.C. medical examiner's office, where it was confirmed that Abedin was dead.

"I said, 'It can't be true. He's been missing almost two weeks. He died on Dec. 19, and nobody contacted us,' " Hossain recalled saying. "If we hadn't got a hospital bill, we may not have found my friend."
Police failed to locate the man's family. Despite the fact that he had identification and an addressbook in his pocket when he died. And despite the family filing a missing persons report in Montgomery County.

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