PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The death of a University of Pittsburgh student is being investigated as a homicide.
Police were called to a home in Oakland early Sunday morning, where they found 20-year-old Alina Sheykhet bruised and badly beaten. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene from blunt force trauma.
On Monday, crime scene tape remained in place around the home on Cable Place. Pittsburgh police were also knocking on doors to speak with neighbors.
“Right now we are looking at several different possible scenarios as to the circumstances surrounding this,” Pittsburgh Police Sgt. William Vollbergn said.
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While no suspect is has been arrested, police say that the public shouldn’t feel threatened.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
Sheykhet’s father told KDKA’s John Shumway that after graduating from Montour, Sheykhet spent her first two years of college at Pitt’s Greensburg campus, where she met then 19-year-old Matt Darby, a basketball player on the Pitt Greensburg squad.
When she moved to the Pitt main campus, she tried to end the relationship with Darby, but her father says Darby continued to chase her.
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Police issued an alert for Darby on Monday asking the public to keep an eye out for him.
Curtis Hanner got to know Sheykhet while working side-by-side at the Journeys Kidz store at the Mall at Robinson.
“If you’re her friend, you’re her friend for life and that’s what I loved about her,” said Hanner.
He was her manager, but they quickly became friends.
“Me and her over time got really close. We would hang out after work. Always had that time to communicate,” Hanner said.
Hanner said Alina worked there for three years and would come back over summer breaks to help out. He said she just left work to start her junior year at Pitt. She wanted to be a physical therapist. Hanner said he learned a lot about Darby, Sheykhet’s ex-boyfriend, during those times. He said the couple always seemed to have issues.
“He didn’t treat her right. He cheated on her a couple of times, was really controlling and called her at work when he shouldn’t have,” Hanner said. “Sometimes she picked up but she would instantly hang up or I picked up or instantly hung up.”
On Sept. 20, Sheykhet filed an application for a PFA against Darby for breaking into the second floor window of the home she was renting on Cable Street in Oakland. Darby was arrested for the break-in and charged with criminal trespass. He was released after posting $10,000 bond.
In the PFA, Sheykhet said Darby was upset that she broke up with him.
“Even when she tried to depart from him through all types of social media and contact, he would still find a way,” Hanner said.
Court dockets show that Darby was also charged with rape out of Indiana County back in March for an incident that happened in February. If you know where Darby is, you’re asked to call police at (412) 323-7800.
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David J. Shrager, a Pittsburgh attorney for Darby, expects to hold a news conference on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh Police say Darby has not been charged in the homicide, but detectives are asking for the public’s help locating him.
Meanwhile, lifelong neighborhood residents remain in shock.
“I feel so bad because I saw a guy and a lady, they were crying so loud I thought maybe it was her boyfriend, but after I realized I think it was mother and the father,” Nancy D’andrea said.
The university is also extending its deepest sympathies to Sheykhet’s family and friends. They’re offering the university counseling center for walk-in appointments.
A Pitt spokesperson said: “Our campus is saddened and extends its deepest sympathies to the student’s family and those who knew her. The University Counseling Center will be open for walk-in appointments beginning Monday and can be reached around the clock at (412) 648-7930.”
Through Facebook, Sheykhet’s brother confirmed that his sister was murdered on his 25th birthday.
Her brother says viewings will be held Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Ralph Schugar Inc. Funeral Home at 5509 Centre Avenue. The service will follow Wednesday’s viewing.