Updated: Police probing ‘depression’ motive of Nicole Assaf – confident now that Hamra death was “suicide”

by Martin Jay

12 March 2015 | 15:12

  • by Martin Jay
  • Last update: 12 March 2015 | 15:12

Nicole Assaf, a civil engineering student at the American University of Beirut (AUB), was found dead on Tuesday next to MidTown Hotel in Hamra Street.

Still Police are unsure of exactly the circumstances or whether foul play was the cause. Did Nicole commit suicide or was she pushed by someone - or she just fell down accidentally from the building she was in? Many questions are asked here, given that a talented young girl of 21 years old girl may end her life mysteriously.

Tuesday March 10, at 7:30 AM, a body fell from a building next to MidTown Hotel, later identified as Nicole Assaf. AnNahar went to check the place where Nicole was found. One of the people there when the incident happened tells An Nahar that when he heard the sound of something landing on the ground, he didn't even imagine that it would be a young girl. He said: "I didn't understand what happened; I directly imagined it would be my sister or my niece. What I saw was really hard and I'm still shocked".

"The police directly came to the place and started investigating about what happened. But I have heard that Nicole has told one of her friends that she was thinking of committing suicide", he added:
A source in the International Security Forces tells An Nahar that Nicole was suffering from depression in the last few days. He added that what is being said about her personal life, the ISF can't confirm yet, as they are still investigating.

However today an ISF source revealed to An Nahar that officers on the case believe that Nicole's tragic death was most likely suicide. " Till now all the investigations implicate that it's a suicide...they found her foot print at the steps of the building that is being under construction in front of the hotel" an officer confided.
"It seems that she threw herself from there...it seems that she was having a hard time, there was a change in her behaviour, she was drinking a lot of alcohol" he added today in a telephone interview.
Yet officers are still waiting for the blood tests' results which at the time of going to press were not ready up. "So no sign of drugs is detected yet... we are waiting for the test's results to confirm if there were drugs involved or not", an ISF source explained to An Nahar.

Fell from a height
According to the coroner, Nicole fell from a high elevation. The way she hits the ground shows that she committed suicide. However, the investigations will reveal everything, as the ISF are going to check the cameras located nearby

The MidTown Hotel's staff confirmed to An Nahar that Nicole didn't enter the hotel, as did the hotel's camera after checking them. Nicole just enters that building where she ends up her life.

Nicole's family is still shocked and can't understand what happened. Her father refused to say a single word. He lost his only girl whom he was waiting for her graduation and the day he will be proud of his 'little engineer'. Her uncle tells An Nahar: "We are waiting the investigations which we trust that it will reveal the truth. We prefer it would stay secret away from media, but if we find that the results aren't fair and something is hidden, we are going to tell everything to the Lebanese media".

One of Nicole's friends at the American University of Beirut doubted the fact that Nicole would commit suicide. She said to An Nahar: "If Nicole was suffering of depression, she would be away from all her friends. This wasn't the case. Nicole's family and friends were always beside her especially in these last days".

The American University of Beirut wrote on her Facebook page: "AUB mourns the death of civil engineering student Nicole Assaf who passed away yesterday". Besides, the president of the AUB, Mr. Peter Dorman, wrote in a message to the AUB community: "I'm extremely sad to share with you the news of the death of student Nicole Assaf, who died early this morning. Nicole was a fourth year civil engineering student, an honor student with an overall average of 89.88, and a member of the Olympic Club, which helps people with disabilities get involved in sports". As he sent his condolences to Nicole's father and family.

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