Son of Madison County refugee family killed in Philadelphia

Associated PressMay 6, 2014 


PHILADELPHIA — A young engineer fatally bludgeoned in a crime-ridden city near Philadelphia may have been killed after connecting with someone on social media, a prosecutor says.

Investigators hope to learn if 25-year-old Dino Dizdarevic went to Chester to see someone he met online, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whalen said Tuesday. Police haven't yet accessed any information from a phone they recovered with the body Thursday because of its password.

Whalen does not believe Dizdarevic was familiar with Chester, a small city that's long battled corner drug markets and violent crime.

As a student at Madison Southern High School, Dizdarevic was named a Kentucky Governor's Scholar in 2006. He graduated from the University of Louisville.

Chester is at least 30 minutes away from Dizdarevic's home or commute to work in New Jersey, where he was a chemical engineer, Dr. Adrienne Millett, a family friend, told the Richmond Register.

The bludgeoning death is not typical of the city's drug-related slayings, Whalen said.

"There's a lot of aspects to this case that don't fit the mold," Whalen said.

Police are analyzing the victim's laptop and talking to friends, including a roommate in Philadelphia, about his routines and online contacts. The death follows a string of robberies, and at least one assault, involving victims looking to arrange a date or buy merchandise online in the Philadelphia area.

Dizdarevic had come to the U.S. as a child with his family from war-torn Bosnia.

His family got out by making their way during a harsh winter to a refugee camp in Croatia, family friend Rosanna David told the Register.

At the camp, the Dizdarevics connected with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, through which the White Oak Pond Church of Richmond had agreed to sponsor a family.

"I remember when they arrived at the airport," said David, a member of the church who has maintained friendship with the family. "They were frightened, knew no English, and each of them had only a suitcase."

Dino, who turned 7 just days after coming to Kentucky, learned English rapidly, Millett said.

"Dino would translate for us, this little 7-year-old boy," said the Rev. Russell Rechenbach, who was then pastor of the White Oak Pond Church. "He was just brilliant, and the nicest fellow in the world."

Dizdarevic moved to Philadelphia in September to start a chemical engineering job. He was planning to fly home to visit his family Thursday, the day he went missing.

Machaela Ballard of the Richmond Register contributed to this report.

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