Unsolved murder of Clemson student still haunts police, friends

The former Suds and Duds Laundromat on Hwy 93 in Central.

The former Suds and Duds Laundromat on Hwy 93 in Central.

Norasaadah Husain

Norasaadah Husain

— It has been just over 16 years since the disappearance and subsequent discovery of the body of Clemson University graduate student Norsaadah Husain.

The 30-year-old doctoral student was attacked on June 16, 1992, in the Suds and Duzs Laundromat on Highway 93 in Central while she was washing and drying clothes.

Police reports stated that the crime scene was covered in her blood and that Husain’s bloody handprints could be seen on a steel pole that helped support the building, an indication she was alive during the abduction, trying desperately to cling to live.

“Husain’s laundry was in a dryer and her car keys were nearby on a washing machine,” said Dewey Smith, a captain in the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and an investigator on the case 16 years ago.

In front of the laundromat was her white Datsun sedan, with the engine still warm. About 8:45 p.m., a laundromat employee arrived and found the scene.

Police formed a task force of about 75 officers and investigators and began the search for Husain. It would be nearly three months before investigators got a break in the case, but it was not the break they had hoped for.

A deer hunter found Husain’s leaf-covered skeletal remains not far from the Oconee Nuclear Station near Salem.

According to police reports, the clothing that she was wearing at the time of her disappearance was piled nearby, an indication she may have been sexually assaulted.

“This did not appear to be a robbery because we found all of the personal effects that we expected to find with her body. Since this happened 16 years ago it seems unlikely this could have been a hate crime against a Muslim person,” Smith said. “I believe this to be a crime of opportunity. This case still bothers everyone who worked on it even now. To this day I still have a photo of Norasaadah on my computer.

Her autopsy records indicate a groove cut into a vertebra in her neck, which may mean she was stabbed in the neck or throat. Police have followed hundreds of leads in this case, all to no avail. Soon after the recovery of her remains her two brothers came from Malaysia and took her boyd home.

For those who knew her, she was pursuing her dreams.

“She was a 30-year-old doctoral student from Malaysia pursuing a degree in food science,” said Ron Thomas, her professor and advisor at Clemson University.

“She was very personable, spoke English well and was not what I would consider a shy person,” he said.

“Her area of study was tea. I remember how she and another student traveled with my family to Charleston to visit a tea plantation. It was a relaxed and interesting trip for everyone. I was shocked to hear that she had been murdered,” he said.

Central police Chief Kerry Avery said authorities have not given up on the case.

“We depend on citizen input with a case like this one,” he said. “Someone knows something that will help solve this murder. Someone may have seen something at the time that will be the missing puzzle piece that we need, because we never close a case like this one until it is solved.”

Anyone with information on this should call Crime Stoppers at 864-898-5677.


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