Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today I woke up and went to google like I normally do and the image is that of Chinua Achebe.  I immediately laughed then teared up because it made me think of Tombol.  In high school we were hanging out at his house once and for my African American Lit class at Whitney Young I needed a book.  Tombol loaned me his copy so I wouldn't have to buy one.  The book was amazing and through i I was able to discover some other fantastic pieces of literature.  

Every time I saw Tombol after that he would ask about the book being returned.  I saw him at the Taste of Chicago maybe a year before his death and we briefly caught up (I was out of state for college).  We laughed and joked and he said "Hey man I give the book to your cousin to give to me". We laughed and said goodbye.  I didn't know it would be our last goodbye.  The book still sits in my collection and is a constant reminder of a great person the world had taken from them entirely too early.

Gregory Gurley

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Post for Tombol's Blog

I lived downstairs from Tombol and his mother for 5 years in the late 90s while I was in middle school at Lab. I fondly remember a bunch of us neighborhood kids often playing soccer and pitching baseballs against the fence along the alley behind the Drexel apartments - Tombol, Preston, Andy...Tombol was always nice. I remember him once going over to Sammy's food to get fries for some of us who were a bit too young to venture out. I'm deeply saddened to read about what happened to Tombol. From the other comments it seems like he grew up to be a great person. My condolences to his family. I hope the thugs who did this are brought to justice.

Fang - Arcadia, CA

Monday, July 09, 2012

Miss you like crazy. Thinking of you today... Warm Regards, Aliya

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Happy 30th

Dear Tombol,

Just a quick note remembering your birthday... there is a new (sorta) song by Coldplay out right now called Paradise. It sounds like a song you would love and I think of you when it plays. Happy birthday, sweetface. Miss you all the time.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Remembering a friend

I was a friend of Tombol. We both went to Kenwood Academy and he was always around Cafe Florian in Hyde park, where I worked. I miss his humor and that smile. You are always remembered Sir.

-Keaka Stokes

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I will never forget you and the laughs we shared friend. For that, I thank you!


Garland Coleman

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Dear Tombol

Celebrating my birthday is always bittersweet. My thoughts turn to you, and I can't believe that 6 years have gone by so fast. Thinking of you today.

Love Always,

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happy 29th

Still missing that amazing smile of yours. Happy birthday.

Friday, July 09, 2010


miss you, thinking of you today.

5 Years and Your Love Lives

God is LOVE (definition) and you so effortlessly were, and always will be, the paradigm of LOVE (adjective) here on earth. God used you, in your physical form, to plant the seed of a true and undying LOVE into the soil of my existence. I never want to lose it again, so I keep you close.

I know Jesus died so that I may live in an eternity where there is no suffering nor is there sadness. There is only joy and peace and LOVE. He lives in my heart. On this ninth day of the seventh month of the year two thousand ten, I reflect on a life, LOVE and soul that resides in my heart until I part this earth.

Your Stephanie Forever and Always

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Remembering Tombol-28 Years Old-Almost 5 Years in Heaven

Dear Tombol,

Our love for your extraordinary presence on this earth has not diminished. We think of you often,
your bright, unabashed smile, brilliant intelligence, quick humor and love of life. What a joy to have been a part of it, even though we wish it could have lasted forever!!! Stephanie still weeps during poignant moments of memory of your most special times together-times that will never be erased. Bless you sweet boy-Continue to bask in the glory of Heaven! Happy Belated Birthday!!

Love Always,
The Jackson Family

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Happy Birthday

Dear Tombol,

I am truly amazed at how vividly I remember you. Your warm, smiling face never fades from my memory, but only grows stronger as the years progress. You would have been 28 this week. I think of you often, even though I am far removed from our mutual friends and acquaintances. You tend to do that to people... leave a mark, an impression. You certainly left an impression on me. Happy birthday, Tombol.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thinking of You All Today

To all Tombol's family & friends,

My husband worked at American School for many years with Tombol's mom & sister. Just to let you all know you are in our thoughts and prayers today. God be with every one of you.

Blessings, Mary Derr

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I found this the other day. My birthday is never the same without you in this world. Miss your smile.

I gaze outside my window
And wish upon a star.
I open up my heart
And let my thoughts drift afar.
A tear rolls down my cheek
As I reminisce the past.
You hardly got to live.
Your life went by so fast.
And all because someone else
Made a dumb mistake.
I don't understand why it was
Your life he had to take.
But now there's no way I can bring you back
No matter how hard I try.
Because now you're up in heaven
As my angel standing by.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Latest Information on the Murder Case of Tombol Malik

After both Muaz Haffar and Mantas Matulis Failed to Respond to Repeated Notices Over Several Years, a Default Judgement was Awarded to the Malik Family on April 14, 2009 in the Civil Case SAMIL MALIK V. MUAZ HAFFAR and MANTAS MATULIS (No. 05 L 8278). Judge Donald J. O'Brien Jr. Ruled in the Amount of $4,000,000 Under the Wrongful Death and Survival Actions.

We, The Malik Family, Are Pleased with this Civil Judgement and Would Like to Thank Our Lawyer, Shawn Kasserman, and the Law Firm of Corboy & Demetrio, for Their Ongoing Commitment and Expertise Toward this Case. It is Both Commendable and Rare that a Case of this Nature--Involving No Lucrative Insurance Claim--is Retained by a Top Personal Injury Firm.

However, We Emphasize this is Not a Final Judgement But a Significant Step Toward Ultimately Bringing Muaz Haffar Back to the United States to Face Justice. Not Only Does the Relatively High Amount Awarded Represent the True Weight of the Evidence Against Haffar and Matulis, But Also, We Hope the Collection Efforts on this Judgement Will Make it Harder for Muaz to Receive Funds From Family and Friends While Hiding in Syria...

Muaz Haffar, Skipped Bail and Fled the Country in July, 2005. Today He Remains a Fugitive Despite Concerted Effort on the Part of the Malik Family to Have Him Brought to Justice. In January, 2006 We Discovered A Video of Muaz Haffar Dancing in Syria! You Can Access that Video at the Following Link: Muaz Haffar Dancing Video! Scroll Down to "Damascus Nightlife."

Mantas Matulis was Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder on Monday, April 16th, 2007. He was Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison on May 18th, 2007.

The following is the full text of the pre-sentencing statement given by Judge Stanley J. Sacks in People vs. Mantas Matulis, on May 18, 2007:

Thank you Mr. Gillespie. I would point out, first of all, I have read the pre-sentence investigation in great detail. There’s some other documents that were attached to it which I’ll just mention for the record what they were.

It looks like a Hinsdale Township High School grade report, or a report card I guess it is. A Hinsdale South High School Most Improved student Award dated June 6, 2002, for Mantas Matulis, and there’s a letter with that indicating based on why he was given that award.

Hinsdale South High School certificates indicating Mr. Matulis earned letters in varsity volleyball, football, and then there’s some documentation concerning, I believe, something to do with his citizenship. I guess I forget to add one thing in here, also he’s a very good soccer player as well, according to the pre-sentence investigation report.

The court has considered all of the factors in aggravation and mitigation, the statutes, and also considered the following relevant considerations as well: The nature of the crime. In this case it may have been Mantas Matulis who inflicted the mortal wounds on Tombol Malik, it may not have been. It doesn’t matter anyway. He and his able assistant, Muaz Haffar, were acting in concert, and Tombol Malik is dead as a result of that, of that acting in concert between Muaz Haffar and Mantas Matulis.

I have one point I want to get into before I get into my final comments. That the defendant’s family appears very nice, his mother and the other people that are here for Mantas Matulis, but they are not the ones sitting before me. It isn’t for me to decide what to do with them, they didn’t do anything wrong.

His mother seems like a very nice woman. It is not Mrs. Matulis that I have to deal with, it’s Mantas Matulis. And I believe Mrs. Matulis was generally sorry from her viewpoint to the family of Tombol Malik. But her viewpoints don’t change the fact of what happened back in July of 2005.

I mention one thing in addition to the factors set forth in the statute, the nature of the crime, the man, Tombol Malik was a young fellow who was literally beaten to death, not a whole long way from here, actually with a bicycle lock, and by being kicked as well. And I’ll get to that again in a little while.

The nature of the crime, the protection of the public, deterrence, punishment, defendant’s rehabilitative prospects, and youth. And the mere fact I would point out that the jury finds a mitigating factor does not obligate the court to impose a minimum-type sentence.

As far as Mr. Matulis’ rehabilitative potential, it’s clear to me at least that Mantas Matulis does not seem to be willing to accept any responsibility for the death of Tombol Malik. In spite of overwhelming evidence, Mantas Matulis kicked the man who was laying on the ground unconscious anywhere, depending on the witnesses, from one to several times depending on their vantage point when they came out. Matulis maintained at trial that only Muaz Haffar kicked the man.

Matulis asks me in essence to believe that the victim in this case was not Tombol Malik, but the victim in this case is Mantas Matulis. That Mantas Matulis was merely being or attempting to be a good Samaritan, that he tried to, according to his trial testimony, pull Muaz Haffar off of Tombol Malik, and that’s how he supposedly got the blood on his shoe and on his leg, Tombol Malik’s blood.

It’s insulting that he would suggest he was a good Samaritan. It’s insulting to suggest that he’s a victim in this case. I always talk about cases where we have circumstantial evidence. In my opinion, that’s the best evidence you could possibly have. While witnesses may be mistaken, witnesses maybe lying about something, circumstantial evidence is inanimate. It has no basis to lie or be mistaken.

All of the witnesses who identified the people involved in this incident, to me it seems much more credible that while none can say, identify Mantas Matulis, they all agree basically that there were four people down in the cul-de-sac. We know one of them, unfortunately, was Tombol Malik. We know one of them was Anthony Popelka. We know one of them was Mantas Matulis. We know one of them was Muaz Haffar.

And the witnesses described them basically the same way, three taller guys and one short stocky guy. And we know from the evidence circumstantially that the short stocky guy was Muaz Haffar, that the other three taller guys were Popelka, Malik, and Mantas Matulis.

And the witnesses we already know circumstantially and otherwise that Popelka remained at the scene. He was one of the taller guys. That Malik, unfortunately, remained at the scene, he was one of the other taller guys, and that the third taller guy, according to the witnesses and the evidence circumstantially and directly, was Mantas Matulis.

And the witnesses described the taller guy who we know from the evidence is Mantas Matulis, as going over to the man on the ground, who we also know is Tombol Malik, and kicking the man anywhere from one to several times while he lay there on the ground unconscious, defenseless, with his arms pretty much down at his side.

And talk about rehabilitative potential. Matulis maintains, as I said before, he was merely a good Samaritan. He tries to explain away overwhelming evidence that he kicked the man by saying it was Haffar who kicked him, the short stocky guy. And all the witnesses, while not saying by face it was Mantas Matulis, circumstantially it’s clear that it was the tall guy in this case that it could circumstantially be is Mantas Matulis.

He makes a feeble, incredible attempt to say he didn’t kick the man when the man’s blood is on Mantas Matulis. He tries to convince us that he’s a good Samaritan, he tried to help the guy out, to get Muaz off him. And yet he leaves the man laying there in the cul-de-sac dying, and runs off with Muaz Haffar.

As I said before, some people accept responsibility, some only take responsibility when it’s thrust upon them. Often times I’ll read cases and I’ll pick out words here and there that I think might be appropriate in a given situation, I try to remember them or write them down or make a note of them, whatever.

And I think the appropriate wording that would apply to Mantas Matulis on July 9, 2005, is that Mantas Matulis showed a callous indifference to life. Participating in kicking the man when he was down and unconscious, and then running off and leaving the man there to die.

It’s true that Mantas Matulis comes from a nice family, apparently a good relationship with his mother, with his stepfather, even with his father who lives in Lithuania by writing to him, communicating with him, went to Bradley University, and apparently from his own statement in court today, much of which is about Mantas Matulis, how well he’s done, he’s gone to school.

And that’s sort of, I would say, a half-hearted apology to the family of Tombol Malik, sorry what happened. Not exactly as glowing apology about what he did, just sorry it happened, more or less.

I received a letter from what’s referred to as the Kolbe House, K-o-l-b-e, it’s the Catholic jail-prison ministry. And apparently various clergymen go around and talk to inmates in the jail. The letter is dated May 16, two days ago. Paragraph 2 I underscored in yellow to me it seems so contrary to what I’ve seen about Mantas Matulis.

It’s hard to reconcile the Mantas Matulis I see with the orange jumpsuit and the Mantas Matulis that the clergy apparently saw in the jail: "I have come to know Mantas Matulis as a man who sincerely regrets any participation in the acts that led to the death of another person. His remorse I believe is sincere. He accepts responsibility for his actions."

I don’t see that at all of Mantas Matulis, accepting responsibility. He left a young man dying on a cobblestone cul-de-sac. That’s hardly accepting responsibility.

The priest or reverend, I guess it is, goes on: "His time in protective custody, though not easy, has also been well-used in reflecting about his life, the consequence of his actions had on his own family and that of his victim. Though, in quotes, jail conversion unquote, are often the case, I believe in the truthfulness of Mantas’ words when he says to me that he has changed."

Changed from what? He maintains he didn’t do anything. What’s there to change about under those circumstances? It’s just another effort on Mantas Matulis’ part to avoid responsibility for his complicity in the murder of Tombol Malik.

Going on further, the reverend: "His actions while in jail have been to help others, to find peace in his heart." And the next four words to me are outrageous: "And to respect life."

A man that is willing, able and does in fact kick a man who is on the ground unconscious, talk about with a straight face respecting life, when his conduct on that evening, as I said before, shows a callous indifference to human life, not a respect for it.

Mr. Matulis has been basically ever since that night, or on that night, running to avoid responsibility. After he and his able assistant left Tombol Malik laying on the cobblestone cul-de-sac, he runs off. When the police see him not too far way, he again runs off. Again both times leaving the man, a young man, literally dying in the cul-de-sac.

And he can expect me to believe for a second that he has learned to respect life? He has no respect for life whatsoever. And his apologies today were more or less to his family and his friends: I’m sorry, mom; I’m sorry for the people who are out there for me.

As I said before, the comments directed to Tombol Malik’s family are almost an insult. They are not in my opinion a genuine expression of sorrow, they merely express sorrow for Mantas Matulis, that he’s here in this situation, not that he’s sorry for what happened to Tombol Malik.

One thing that was mentioned during closing arguments, of course I told the jurors to disregard it, but what was said during closing arguments by Mr. Matulis’ lawyer, who is a very excellent lawyer in my opinion, a very fine lawyer, somewhere along the line he said send Mantas home to his mother. If it would bring back Tombol Malik, I might consider sending him home to his mother, but that is a factual [im] possibility.

As Mr. Gillespie correctly said, no matter what I do here this morning, it will never bring back Tombol Malik, unfortunately. Matulis’ mother can visit him in the penitentiary. She can talk to him, she can look at him. Maybe where he’s at she may even be able to reach across the window and touch him. Those are not luxuries that the family of Tombol Malik has. The only place they can see Tombol Malik is in photographs, a picture perhaps on a tombstone somewhere.

At some point or another Mantas Matulis will be getting out. He will live again, whether it’s here or in Lithuania, wherever it happens to be. That’s not a luxury the family of Tombol Malik has.

Up until this case I’ve never heard a case of a beating homicide. But this one I can imagine takes the cake. This man was beaten so severely that a photograph taken from shortly afterward is unrecognizable that it’s Tombol Malik. You can see a face, but you can’t recognize who it is because of the conduct of Mantas Matulis and his able sidekick, Muaz Haffar.

The Court is well-aware of what the statutory range is for the crime of murder in the second degree, the offense that the jury found Mr. Matulis guilty of. This is not a situation where Mr. Matulis was merely standing by and watching, doing nothing. He was an active participant, and at every step of the way he’s tried to avoid that responsibility. I think at some point it has to end.

Mr. Matulis, on the charge of murder in the second degree for the murder of Tombol Malik, the sentence of this Court will be 18 years in the Department of Corrections.

Judge Stanley J. Sacks

The Following is the Full Text of the "Victim Impact Statement" Read to the Court, Prior to Sentencing, by Shiera Malik on Behalf of the Malik Family:

"It's like phantom limb syndrome. Losing our youngest in such a vicious and brutal manner has left a deep and painful chasm in our hearts. We were 4; Sati, Samil, Tombol and myself were 4. In a moment, we became 3. We imagine an amputation.

Early on a Saturday morning, our mother received a call from a Chicago news reporter saying that a Tombol Malik had died in the night and did she know this person. She called Sati upset about a prank call. Sati went straight over to her. The morgue confirmed that a Tombol Malik was there. When Mom and boys arrived at the morgue to identify the body, Tombol’s slender feet and arms were perfectly recognizable; his curly hair was still perfectly scuplted from the gel that he liked to use when he went out. His face was shattered and smashed flat – so much so, Mom said that he was not her son. She refused to identify him.

When I returned home from a night out with some friends, I found a frightening message from Sati.

Tombol is dead. Mom refuses to believe it. I was on the next flight out of Dublin.

It took two weeks for our father to get a visa. Meanwhile, he was forced to wait in Cairo and Tombol waited in the morgue. Since our mother refused to claim Tombol's body, we had to wait to send him to a funeral home.

The loss of our brother has been brutal in every way. The process of justice is brutal, watching our parents is brutal. Looking at one another, aware of what each of us has lost is brutal. Also brutal is the complete confusion, lack of comprehension, the frustration, and the anger. What happened is inexplicable. No one expects this, but some may be less surprised. We are stunned. Our Tombol was never in a fight, not once. He was not an aggressive soul; he was not a person needing constant consolation for insecurities. The picture we received of his final moments of a college boy riding his bike around a car while his friend talked to some girls was instantly recognizable to all of us who knew him. He did not need to fight for attention. He was happy to do his own thing. He was an artist; he spent hours drawing. This was a past time that followed him from boyhood when instead of sitting in front of the television he would go off and draw. But he was not a recluse. He loved music, sports; he was a wonderful dancer and athlete. He was also socially aware and active. In 2003/4, he volunteered as a court advocate for children here in Chicago; when in Brazil he gave his money in charity to poor kids in Rio; and he created photo-documentation of the Stockyards. He was a critical thinker beyond his years. The four of us are passionate about politics and our social world; from a young age Tombol had an agility of mind and a level of self awareness that was out of step with others in his age bracket. We like to think that a wonderful brother so adored by us felt able to simply be his wonderful self. Perhaps he would have been like this anyway. It's hard to tell. This personality of his was visible even in his infancy. Regardless, he is now dead.

He has been robbed of his future. He had many plans, one of which would have already occurred. Last year, he was to study in Germany and photograph the World Cup.

And we have been robbed of our future with him. We will never know how his body would have filled out with age, how he would have continued to grow and learn – this brother we watched in adoration from his first day of life. His 25th birthday just passed. This end for a young man who loathed naked aggression! This picture of him as an aggressor would be laughable if it weren't, again, so brutal.

Thus, in an instant our lives changed through no act of our own. We watched this process and this vicious murderer who sits through this trial showing no remorse, who steals our brother's last words as his own. It is brutal. To date, his partner has been able to avoid justice. This is the partner who bragged about his physical domination of Tombol. This is the partner who corroborated Anthony’s story that this killer was bleeding, that Anthony asked if he was ok. In response, they set upon Tombol and Anthony. The brutality is unfathomable.

Each of us has suffered through nightmares, feelings of depression, inability to sleep or concentrate. It is, fundamentally, shock from a world turned upside down; a world we cannot right. A world, in which, we have been forced to make different decisions about our own lives. We understand our own suffering, but, as I said, watching our parents has been brutal. Our mother, in particular, still refuses to acknowledge the murder of Tombol. In the weeks after Tombol was murdered she left messages on his machine imploring him to call us. Even today, while his killer sits here our mother has still not acknowledged Tombol’s death. We worry that she is holding out hope that some day her son may come back to her. So, in addition to managing our own feelings of trauma, we are painfully aware of our responsibilities to our family and to our incredible brother. Finally, we want to say to the court that we have sat through the impersonal, yet strangely intimate trial process, we now want it on the record that our boy was a truly remarkable and kind soul.

He did not deserve this. We do not deserve this. We thank you for the opportunity to speak."

For further information about the case please call The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County: (773) 869-3140 (Case Number # 05CR188502)



Just talking about Tombol and Theo a couple of days ago (those trips to New York). He was a gem and will always be in our hearts. Theo, being the young man he is, doesn't cry often, but he lost a TRUE friend in Tombol so the tears were visible.

Some people leave an impression on our lives, your Tombol was one of those!

He will always be in our thoughts and you in our prayers.

God Bless You All,

Mary Carolyn Avent

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Tombol!!!

Dearest Tombol,

Eventhough a few days have past since your 27th birthday, in Heaven, we are rejoicing that you lived with us for the short time God alloted to your beloved family, friends and acquaintances!!! Ever in our hearts!!!!

The Jackson Family

Friday, April 03, 2009

Happy 27th Birthday Tombol

HAPPY 27TH BIRTHDAY TOMBOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even though we are devoid of your physical presence on this earth, you live in my heart forever. Today is your birthday and it will be celebrated just as you celebrated your loved ones. I salute your life and this day will never be forgotten. I love you always and I thank you for being my angel. Missing you until we see each other again...

Your Stephanie
Stephanie R. Jackson

Thursday, April 02, 2009



So, I may be slightly early, but during the first week of April my thoughts immediately go to you. Happy birthday, buddy. I miss you like crazy and think of you often.

Love always,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In a Time of Thankfulness...

It's been years since we've spoken out loud. Yet the holidays always
find me talking to you. And now, as I try to type, I feel my thoughts
going all over the place. I thank you for always listening to me even
when I dont know the words that I want to say.

I remember you as a scrawny baseball player on the HPK White Sox team
(I think you were 9 at the time). I remember you at Ray and Kenwood.
I remember friendly interactions between your group of friends and my
group of friends. Always a sweet kid. Always a gentleman. So much
has happened in this world and I believe your magnetic personality and
passionate beliefs have helped to make so much of the good happen. I
thank you for all that you've done and all that you continue to do by
inspiring and being a driving force for so many.

A couple of weeks ago I worked at an event that promoted community
healing, especially for the families who have lost loved ones to
violence and as we did the praise circle we yelled out the names of
the lost ones, I yelled your name and prayed for justice. Thank you
for being my strength as an organizer and an individual.

During the holidays, I always find myself reminiscing about my family;
thinking about people who are or were in my life and where they are
now; praying for more years of happiness with those I love; most of
all I think about the importance of telling people I love them. It is
a cliche to give more during the holidays but I believe it's one of
those actions that we can never give too much of. So, even though
I've missed the actual day of your birth, many occasions to talk with
you in person, an never got a chance to get to know your family - I
love you and your family. What you all have taught me is invaluable.
I am thankful for your brilliant presence although too short and I am
thankful for your family molding you into an astounding and loving

Happy Turkey's to YOU Tombol!

Love Liz Wilkinson

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Dear Tombol,

I wish you were here today to attend the event in Grant Park for Obama! I know how excited you would be! The significance of today is overwhelming. My thoughts are both with you as they will be forever and for Obama on this very decisive and historic day.

Niki Tsuruta

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Dear Tombol,

Seems like yesterday we were both laughing away. Thinking about you today.

Love always,


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

To Me

I talked to you today about my travels to Italy and England! We talked about hanging out within the next day or two to talk further about what had been some of the most exciting times of my life. I knew you wanted to hear all about the trip! Your face would light up whenever you heard stories of someone's travels. It was as if you were putting yourself in that same moment, experiencing what the other experienced on their journey in foreign terrain. I will definitely tell you all about it this weekend when I see you! I'm going to see you this weekend...

Stephanie R. Jackson

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

Don't know why, but today I thought of Tombol and his family so I decided to go to this blog.

I never met Tombol or the Malik family but I have posted here in the past to send my condolences. I understand that April 3rd would have been Tombol's 26th birthday. His death at such a young age is so jarring. I can't even imagine what his family is going through.

My condolences again, and happy belated birthday Tombol.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday to You

Dear Tombol,

A friend of mine bought me a digital picture frame last year. I immediately loaded it with pictures of those who are close to me. I mean, I am living in Switzerland… can you believe it?! So, I need some remnants from home every now and then. Anyway, that picture of us, the one from the opening with Lana… well, I had to put it in there. I have the frame next to the place I get dressed every morning. The pictures change every 10 seconds, and sometimes I get to catch a glimpse of you before I head to class. I always smile. Yesterday was your 26th birthday, and I thought of you and wondered what you were doing. I miss you. I think about you often… and I will always keep your picture loaded in my picture frame; today, tomorrow, always. Love, aliya.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy Birthday T-Bone

While this comes a couple days late, I just wanted you to know that you have not been forgotten (you never are) and I hope that you had a happy, happy, birthday up there, partying with all the other angels. =) We truly do miss you down here though! Hugs and kisses...

Love eternally,
Miriam Y.

Happy Birthday to Beloved Tombol

Our Dearest Tombol,

Our family thought lovingly of you on your 26th birthday, which just passed by 15 minutes. We just had to pause and reflect on how precious you are to so many who will always keep you in their hearts and minds with love!!!!!!!!!

The Jackson Family

Thursday, April 03, 2008

You Are Missed

Tombol, not a day goes by that I don't think about you. You are truly missed. Happy Birthday.



Good Morning My Tombol (I told you that you would always be My Tombol even though I know I have to share you with everyone who loves you ;)! HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Not having you to talk to, to hug, to laugh with, to be with is still so very difficult for me to deal with. I once asked your brother how he deals with you not being here and I knew I could only get one answer..."I don't have a choice". I guess I was looking for another way not to believe any of what had happened to you, My Tombol. You are supposed to be here with are supposed to be here.

Tombol I love you so very much and I just wish I could tell you to your beautiful face. Sometimes I pray to be able to see you just one more time, but I have to be patient until my time here on earth is done. Honestly I find myself searching for pieces of you through your family from their smiles, their laughs and their mannerisms to the shape of their fingers, because I know you live in them always. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about you and I just can't wait until the day I see you again.

My Tombol I Love You Forever. HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just Read The Blog

Dear Malik Family and Samil~

Reading your blog has bought me to tears. I cannot imagine what it feels like to have someone so precious to you taken away. I hope justice is eventually served. I unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting Tombol but from what I read on the blog and from what I heard from Samil he was an amazing human being and the world is at a lose without him in it.

God Bless,

Purvi Patel

Monday, July 09, 2007

with love, today and always

Tombol, you are in my thoughts and prayers, today and always. May your memory be eternal. With my love, Eve Tselepatiotis

Tombol: Remembering and Paying Tribute

Hey Tombol,

Well, it's been two years...hard to believe. Some days it seems like so long ago, then others like yesterday. Either way, not a day goes by that you usually don't cross my mind in some fashion or another - whether it's just a random thought that pops into mind or something I hear or see that reminds me of you. So how are you doing? I'm sure all is well where you are and you are always looking down on us. I hope you and my father are enjoying each other's company...perhaps playing a game of Risk or something. =) Sorry I cannot be home with your family this time, but they are in my thoughts and heart, especially today, as well. You know that some justice for you has already been served, but we still await the rest. Karma is a powerful thing, as I know you always made sure to be so kind to others. Where karma was in that moment two years ago this day, I'm not sure, but karma will always be and the same will be done for the one remaining to bring the remainder of justice home for you. I love you and miss you - a ton of people do - you know this. A flood of thoughts and feelings will be coming your way this day...and all to pay the tribute and rememberance you so deserve!

You are never,


My dearest Tombol,

Even writing this i am filled with extreme emotion. I was thinking about you so hard yesterday and i couldn't explain why until i looked at the date and saw that it was a day before you died 2 years ago. Sometimes, i forget what day it is, what time it is, what is even going on in the world. I saw Samil at my job the other day and he looked sooo much like you, he was just coming in for some earplugs, i just gave them
to him, didn't ask him to pay for them, i paid for them out of my own pocket because he's my family....You're my family. I remember when you died, i prayed to God to just stop the world for just a second, so that the world could recognize that "My Friend" was dead. Even though, it was an extreme request i knew if it stopped for you, it would have to stop for all the countless souls brutally murdered. I love you, Tombol. I always have. I should have told you how much but i know it's better that i didn't. I am always praying for the family and asking God's presence to protect them and keep them in these evil days. And i think of you always... and I smile because i'm grateful that I knew you. Love you- Kiara

Two Years

Hi little brother,

It doesn't seem like two years have past. No words can describe how much I miss you. You were the other half of me. I love you and miss our talks, your smile, your face. I miss not having a little brother anymore. You will always live in my heart and in my mind. The only other thing I'll say is..."hey there I hope everything's alright...." Rest in peace baby.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

God Bless You

I never knew Tombol but I grew up in Hyde Park and was saddened to hear of his murder. I have been effected by other news stories in the past, but none have lingered with me more than Tombol's tragic death. Perhaps it is because of the heartfelt stories and pictures of Tombol on this blog. I just read the family's statement to the Court following Matulis' conviction. It effected me even more, more than I thought. I am glad to hear of Matulis' conviction, yet I know the "victory" is hollow. I hope that one day very soon Haffer will be brought to trial and made to pay with his life in prison for the tremendous hurt he has caused to Tombol's family. Reading of the difficulty Tombol's mother still has with accepting her son's murder was truly heartbreaking. I can't imagine what she, Tombol's sibilings and Tombol's father are going through. I am impressed with the dignity they have shown in the face of so much pain and no doubt anger. I am just truly sorry that the Malik family had to lose someone they so dearly loved (and still love) because two others decided to act like the Devil. Reading of the Maliks' pain puts my on daily irritations into perspective. I am so sorry for your lose but am confident that the love you showed Tombol during his life and in the wake of this tragic event will carry you through and provide some comfort for each of you, as you no doubt love each other as you love Tombol.

God bless you and Tombol,


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Best of Luck on the Trial

I was a friend of Tombol when we worked together at Banana Republic. I wish the Malik family the best for a swift and fair trial. He was a great person and I hope that justice can somehow be served.

God Speed

Denny C Theanchai

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thinking of You

Tombol. I always think of you, but today you and your family are in my thoughts.


Friday, April 06, 2007

This Wandering Memento

Greetings and condolences to the Malik family.

My name is crystal. I too went to Ray with Tombol. My memory only serves to remind me that Tombol was a couple years older than me and was one of the older guys us younger girls wanted to know how to talk to. I never worked up the nerve to say much to Tombol in grammar school. Most of my interactions with Tombol were long after high school, in our college years, where I would run into him by chance out and around Hyde Park or by coincidence he was living with other childhood friends or a party here and there. There is no way to describe the shock I had when I heard of Tombol's unnecessary and unprovoked death. I got tangled up in confusing and selfish emotions of anger and hurt and what usually follows these distorted, passionate feelings is guilt. I regret that I have not reached out to you sooner, but i can say nothing will keep me from attending the trial to witness "justice" finally prevail, and perhaps grant Tombol's family their right to the healing process. I keep Tombol and you, his family, in my thoughts and prayers, and send a universe of righteous blessings to you all.

May justice and righteous anger prevail.

A Dream!

Hi! I just woke up from a dream about Tombol and I had to let you know because he looked great. It was so weird because when I woke up it took me a while to register and remember that he wasn't here anymore and that it was just a dream. He looked really good and was playing with a I watched him play and then gave him a huge hug when he finished I just held him for a long time and told him that I missed him. He said he missed me too but was doing good. Then we sat outside in front of a fountain that was supposed to be a replica of a waterfall and caught up about our Ray School buddies. I commented that the fountain was nice and he said that real waterfalls were so much more beautiful and that if you listened closely to their sound they spoke to you. He was so at peace and sure of himself. We talked for a little while longer about people and food and then he hugged me again kissed my cheek and said he had to run. I woke up smiling because it felt so real and he seemed so at peace. I guess I just wanted to let you guys know.

You are in my thoughts always,
Suheily Natal

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Happy Birthday Little Brother. Not one day goes by that I don't think of you. I miss you so much.


Happy Birthday Tombol!!!

Beloved Tombol,

You will always be in our hearts and minds forever and thus my family and I pause to reflect upon your beautiful life and legacy with much love, remembering you in a special way on this your 25th birthday!

Sherry Jackson
(mother of Stephanie Jackson)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Dream

Dear Tombol,

I woke up crying in the middle of the night with you on my mind. It was kind of weird...out of no where...flashbacks of good times when we were growing up...and then fast forward to the that awful day. In some way, I hope that is a sign that things will get moving on your case. I miss you greatly...everyone does...and we want to see justice brought to you soon. We all know what a good person you were and you deserve nothing less. One does not need to go to a physical reminder, to pay respects, but the next time I am home, I want to - just to feel closer to you for a moment. I know where you are and I will plan to stop by and say "hi". =)

Love you always,

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


My name is Nate Granatir. I went to Ray (back then, "Nat" Granatir) and Kenwood with Tombol. Although I had been following everything since it happened, I hadn't written anything, I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, or how to respond, but I wanted to share a few thoughts. I hadn't seen Tombol much since Ray, it was limited to running into each other every now and then in Hyde Park, usually around Caffe Florian, and saying hello, catching up a bit. I think in the past year, in the back of my mind I've still sort of expected to see him, and
have to keep reminding myself that I won't.

I always thought Tombol's most noticeable, and endearing quality was his sense of humor. My earliest memory from Ray School - at least I think this is accurate - is sitting in Mrs. Frasier's Kindergarten class in a circle while she was reading something to us. I was sitting next to Tombol in the back. I have no recollection of what he was saying to me, nor do I have any idea what a six year old could say that would be so funny, but I remember struggling to hold back the laughter so that the teacher wouldn't spot us goofing off. That pattern continued. I remember birthday parties over the next several years, and I always knew that I'd be having fun and laughing if I was around him. Of course now I can remember very few details of these times, and soon after that period we sort of parted ways. Its a shame that I missed out on a lot of laughter.

The horrible atrocities committed both by the two individuals and the "justice" system are deeply saddening. My heart goes out to Tombol, his family, friends, and all of those here who remember him.

Nate Granatir
Kenwood c/o 2000

Friday, June 23, 2006


Dearest Malik Family,
The first thing that I must say is that Tombol was one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever met! You instilled in him the most amazingly endearing qualities that I have yet to see repeated in another male individual! Those fortunate enough to know Tombol will whole-heartedly agree with this! Kudos to you for raising one of the most resplendant young men I had ever met!
I have known Tombol since our days at Ray School and Kenwood, and even then he was mature beyond his years. Although young, Tombol never, and I mean NEVER, spoke negatively about anyone around us, even though that seemed to be the thing to do in most adolescent and teenage environments. He was a glowing individual who saw the good in everyone and that has always been what I admired most about him! Such a soul touches every life they encounter, which would inevitably make him a politician like no other! A man who was destined to change the world around him; to make everyone see the beauty that is life! It is a serious crime against humanity what has happened to your family and those responsible shall pay dearly for every piece of it!
When I was told of his death I was, without a doubt, in utter disbelief. I couldn't bring myself to imagine the type of individual it would take to do something so horrible to a young man as gleaming as Tombol. Furthermore, I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of never being able to see him again and joke about the good ole times when all we had to worry about was homework and lunch money; never be able to share ideas about life and love and, especially, politics; never be able to share the most awesome feeling that was a White Sox World Series Championship! Tragedy involving youth is so hard to deal with, especially when it is something so atrocious, just rest assured that no bad deed goes unpunished and your family WILL be victorious.
I have been following the news stories about Tombol's perpetrators and I am so thoroughly DISGUSTED with the so-called legal system we have here in America! In any other civilized country a crime as brutal, hateful and heinous as this would have, at the very least, gone without bond especially given the financial capabilities of the families of these horrible individuals. As far as I am concerned the legal system has a LOT of making up to do to your family and I chant (as I am a buddhist) all the time for his extradition and for your, long overdue, justice! As a buddhist, I am taught to let situations like these lie in the hands of the greater energy of the universe, because no negative deed goes without an equally severe repercussion. That is why I do my best to put as much positive energy out as possible, on behalf of your family, in hopes that it will help this case.
I recently learned of this blog spot, and finally mustered the strength to sit down and write something to the family of a young man I was lucky to call a friend. Through tears and lingering pain I have managed to string a series of words together that I hope will bring you all some comfort and joy knowing of yet another life that your son has touched in a special way. Rest assured, that an energy like Tombol's will live forever in the hearts of those he touched, in the love of his family members, and all around you as that wonderful feeling that you get everytime a memory of him pops into your mind. My deepest condolences and most sincere sympathy for all of you. Stay strong, as there is no room for weakness in the fight for justice!

Sincerely, Adrienne M. Irmer
Kenwood Academy C/O 2000

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thinking of You

Hi Tombol,

Well, it's been quite some time since I've written on this blog, but that does not mean there's a day that has gone by where you didn't cross my mind at some point or another. It's 2am Florida time and I'm sitting here listening to Blank and Jones - music I'm sure your brother intoduced you to and you liked...the kind that puts your thoughts into gear. As you know (because I know you see all from above), Edward is getting married in July. I am coming home for it, but a week early because I want to be there to celebrate you on July 9th and I know your spirit will be there as well. I 'm looking forward to spending that day "with you" and your family. A week later, we will all be celebrating my brother's marriage and I know you will be there enjoying it too. Hope all is well on your side and we'll be "connecting" again soon. Love you and miss you so much.

Miriam Y.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Dude ... just wanted you to know that aliya and I had this crazy 2 hour lunch the other day and people must have thought we were completely nuts, because we were one minute laughing hysterically and the next minute crying thinking and talking about you. I asked her about celebrating her birthday and she doesn't want to but i told her you would be pissed if we didn't, so we will be doing something low key.

Wishing you were here more and more every day. I thought it was supposed to get easier ... not so much. Just can't stop thinking about you these days and wondering what it would be like if you were here.

You should be here.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Haffar Video

Dear family,

I was a friend of Tombol's and was there for everything last summer. Since then I have moved to LA, but have been trying to keep up with whatever is being done in order to get Haffar back in the courts. Things should have never gone the way they did, let alone a bail posted for his release. But, I have to take this extremely random video of Syrian night-life as a sign of karma on behalf of Haffar. It may take a lot of work to get him back, but I truly believe justice will be made.

There are too many loved ones for Tombol who would never let his death be dismissed, as you very well know, and we will all be there for support and encouragement. This video is a giant step forward to getting him back here, and I just wish you all the very best in succeeding.

I miss him very much, and his bravery is with all of us...




I am thinking of you and miss you very much. Your pictures are still up in my backroom. I don't know what else to say, except, I miss you.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Malik Family

Malik Family:

Lately I have thought a lot about death. As the most recent friend of mine to die, my experiences with Tombol come to mind immediately. At first glance, it seems that Tombol was here and now he is not here. His body is no longer here with me or you, but instead buried in a cemetary. But when I remember Tombol, I don't remember a body. Being in His presence, his limbs and hair were of no concern. I remember a personality, a fiery compassion, a friend. I did not know Tombol as a mask of skin or a set of organs. Tombol was not just some meaty lump of flesh. Wondering what is in His coffin, I find that it is only a set of tissue. With this half-empty coffin, now I can only wonder where Tombol really is.

How can we say that Tombol is dead? I visit this compilation of memories and see that Tombol has never left me. If Tombol had somehow left us, I would not be writing this and you would not be reading this. If Tombol was gone, how could we speak of Him? The human body was only one form of His being. Now he is rooted more firmly in our thoughts. His body may not be seen or heard, but neither is the body of undeniable love. No longer known as a body, Tombol is now free to live forever. Each memory of Tombol is Tombol. He is here with us right now, as our own minds.

With the utmost respect in this time of sorrow, I cannot miss Tombol. I cannot miss Tombol because he is right here, in this very moment. I can only miss His body that was moved towards the Earth on which my body lives. Burning a sheet of paper, I am left with ashes. Tombol too has changed his appearance, but like a sheet of paper can never be destroyed. This is not wishful thinking; I see Tombol in front of me right now. Rejoicing in His physical life, Tombol is more alive than ever. To say that Tombol has ceased may be a misunderstanding. To say that Tombol is gone may perhaps mean that we did not see who Tombol really was; perhaps we called him a body. His family and friends know Tombol intimately; this is self-validating proof of his presence. Again, I share unequivocable respect and support for other friends and relatives of Tombol Malik, and mean no dishonor to his physical legacy. But I do offer the experience of Tombol's immortality; he will forever be my companion.

Depending on perspective, this may be a time of sorrow or of celebration, of cessation or of freedom. We are capable of missing Tombol and smiling with him at the same time. He would want us all to miss him with a smile.



P.S. Enjoy the computer games. ;-)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


First and foremost happy birthday to Tombol.

Dear Malik family,

Throughout this past year i have checked in periodically on your website to see the status of the court hearings. This last time i was happy to hear that muaz haffar was found, but as i read further, i could not believe my eyes. I went to the website and saw this monster dancing, enjoying life while thousands of miles away another life was taken because of his actions. I was delighted that he was found but sickened that he is enjoying himself dancing with an unsuspecting girl who doesn't realize that she's dancing with a murderer! I don't know by what miracle you all found that website and his location, but i will say that GOD does act in mysterious ways! I also wanted to say that it is beyond my understanding of how his family could live without a conscience for the past year knowing that they helped him to get away with murder and that someone's child, brother, loved one is gone because of the actions of their son. GOD has a plan for muaz haffar and in time His plan will surface. God bless your family and you all are in my prayers.


Rhonda Wormack-Khan

"My children teach me everything i need to know about life, and they have made me a better person"

-rhonda RN, BSN

My Friend

Happy belated Birthday Babe! I think about you everyday...every single day. It's so funny how time flies, Tombol. It's been almost a year since you died and every memory of you is so fresh on my mind. Sometimes, I wish it was a terrible joke or dream and that you would still be here. However, I have to face everyday that you are no longer best friend that I spent countless hrs with on the phone, cracking corny jokes(so corny), and secretly having a crush on you:)(who didn't?) I have cried and laughed so much thinking about the stuff we used to do. I've been talking to God a lot about you. And God told me to praise Him for allowing me to have you in my life for the eight years that I did. And that's exactly what I did. I thanked him for the lives you touched while being alive and through your death. I
think about your family and I pray for them. I wanted to write something to you yesterday, but it was too painful. I know it hasn't been easy for the people that love you, babe. It's been really hard for me. I really just... needed you to know how much you meant to me and how deeply I love you. But im sure you've always known.


Remembering Tombol

Dear Malik Family,

My heart has just found the strength to express my deep sadness and pain over the tragic and untimely loss of one of the most charismatic, beautiful, endearing and respectful young men I have ever met. I had the honor of meeting Tombol through my daughter, Stephanie Jackson, who shared a deep, mutual profound love with Tombol, beginning in a piano class at Kenwood Academy. When Stephanie came home "bubbling over" about a special young man she had met, and begging me to meet him, I could hardly wait to see who had caught her attention. What a joy when he was introduced to me at a Kenwood piano recital (where he was an usher). My first thought was how stunningly handsome and at ease he was. From then on, I occasionally drove him and Stephanie on errands or to meet for dates, shared several family dinners with him at Florian, tried to rent a car for them on their prom night (lost my drivers license that day and couldn't rent the car!), and enjoyed his presence at my home when he came to visit Stephanie. The respect he showed us as her parents was remarkable and unique for one his age. I did not realize how deeply they cared for each other until I read a poem and a letter written by Tombol to Stephanie expressing her special place in his heart and hoping that their future together would one day be their present (written when they were still dating). Upon reading this, I have wept over what might have been, but was so cruelly and brutally taken by one of Satan's own and his accomplice. Stephanie spoke with him by phone to plan a weekend lunch together two days before his life was taken. Stephanie felt his spirit depart this world that fateful morning. She tenderly protects her many momentoes of their relationship together and is putting together a memory book, which includes the tragic news articles and updates as they are reported. Perhaps, my tears and contemplation of the tragedy led to a dream I had about Tombol a couple of weeks ago that I would like to share with you, his beloved family. In my dream, I was walking in a crowd on my way to a restaurant. As I was walking, I saw a young man walking toward me, shimmering from head to toe, bathed in a golden light. It was Tombol. When I saw him, I started weeping. He took my hand and asked me why I was weeping. I told him I was weeping because he was so beautiful and I wished he could stay. He asked how my family was and that he would see me later at the restaurant. Overjoyed to see him, I was eating my meal when he passed by the window and waved at me. I waved back and then awoke from this dream with a smile. All I could think of was that HE IS FINE AND WANTS US ALL TO KNOW THIS. So, my dearest Malik family, our eternal thanks to you for blessing our lives with such a remarkable young man as our Tombol. His glorious spirit will forever shine within us until we meet again.
Happy Birthday, Tombol!

God Keep You in His Sustaining Grace and Mercy,

Sherry Jackson and Family

Happy B-Day

Yo, Happy B-Day kid. I wish we could have chilled or talked about how wack hip hop is right now or how the Sox will do this year( their pitching is still top notch, plus we got Jim Thome now). Anyway, much love to Sati, Samil, Shiera, Ms. strong. We miss you man.

One Love,

Anthony Roberts


Dear Shiera, Sati, Samil, Karen and Sharafuddin,

This is just a note to say that you and Tombol are in my thoughts so much. I will never, ever forget Tombol--his bright eyed curiosity and floppy good nature as a child, his pointy elbows holding up a bat, his diligent message taking whenever his sister's friends would call . . and fast forward to last April, when he took us all out dancing. . . when he was showing off (in his non-showoffy kind of way) what an interesting, intelligent, thoughtful adult he had snuck into being. Shiera, Sati, Samil--I try to keep that night seared in my mind. I was euphoric coming home, feeling so lucky to have you all as part of my past. It never crossed my mind that I would never see you all together again, that the future would be so different, that I would never again experience the joy of hearing Tombol talk about his new plans and interests, that he would never again be able to make me feel like a big sister. I grieve for the loss of future memories. I will never, ever forget Tombol.



Happy Birthday Tombol


I met you on your 23rd birthday. I remember what you were wearing (khaki shirt, tie, infamous military cap :) This weekend we celebrated your life. Samil and I talked about one of the last times we were out with you and we smiled and laughed ... we were able to remember you the way you would want us to on your birthday ... with huge smiles on our faces. We raised our glasses to your memory and the life you led while you were here. Even though today has been so hard for everyone who loved you, I'm sure you know now how celebrated your life is on this day.

We love you and miss you every day.
Happy Birthday!


PS. thanks for helping me out on that ridiculous flight last Friday .... I know you were there :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Tombie :)

I miss you so much and in a way that words cannot explain. Every memory of you is still so close to the surface, and there is not a minute in a day that I dont miss our friendship. My one wish is that you could come back, but I find peace in knowing that you are now probably traveling the world 3 times of your greatest pleasures in life. I didn't know what I would be like on this day, but the ironic thing is I did not go to sleep last night at all, I tried but was not successful, consequently I have been tired and fatigue all day not really able to "feel" anything. I think that happened for a reason...dealing with this situation is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Happy Birthday again sweetlove, you are forever in my thoughts and I will love you forever.

LaToya Jones

Happy B-Day

I didn't know you personally, but I grew up in Hyde Park so call me sentimental but I was hurt and angry when I heard of what happened to you. Happy Birthday Tombol. I just happened to be on the internet today when I decided to google your name. My prayers are with you and your entire family.

God bless,


Happy Birthday Tombol


I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to you! Me, Ebone, and Brooke bought you a birthday cake and ice cream, and sung "Happy Birthday" to you. We drank champaigne and listened to Mass Hysteria and Common. Tombol, I miss you more than words can express. Any other year I would have called you at midnight to tell you Happy Birthday, but this year I just celebrated your life. I love you so much!


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Tombol. I miss you so so much. Today has been so painful for me. A lot more than I thought it would be. I'm just sitting here crying, my heart breaking, wishing that you were with me on this day. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I love you so much.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm from the Chicago area, but do not know your family personally. I am following this investigation closely, and I can only pray that God brings justice to a mourning family. I can see that Tombol has touched so many people, even in death, and he will never be forgotten. I almost burst out in tears when I read "And I just think of his passing as God selecting his best early so they can help him reign" from Monique King. How true that is, and I hope it is a small comfort to your family and everyone close to Tombol. I pray that God blesses your family in your continued mourning, and I will continue to pray that justice will be served, and soon. I'm sure Tombol is watching from his place in heaven. He will always be missed.

Christine Cruz

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Miss You Tombol




Sunday, March 05, 2006



Monday, February 06, 2006


To the Malik family,

I am a friend of Sheira from Ireland and would like to offer my sincere condolences on the loss of Tombol. Although I never met Tombol I feel deep shock and pain that he could be taken away from a loving family so tragically. I hope that love for him and the quest for justice can give you all the strength to carry on. My strongest support to you in the difficult months of the trial ahead.

With deepest sympathy and support,

Vanessa Liston

Thursday, January 19, 2006

To The Malik Family

Hello, my name is Dario Raijman. I hope you remember me. Tombol and I were good friends back in the 7th grade, when I left back to Israel. I learned of his death only now since I wasn't in touch with Tombol or with Anthony. I am in complete shock. I have always remembered Tombol as one of the nicest people I met and when I think back to my friendship with him I can only remember how big his sense of humor was and how we used to have so much fun together. I will miss him.

My love to all of you,

Dario Raijman

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My letter to Tombol


I think I look at this website like every day, trying to hear other people share their stories about you. I've been real hesitant about actually writing something to you on here because I feel like I talk to you in my prayers anyway, but I think it's about time I actually put my thoughts down permanently. I remember the first time I met you. I remember totally GOOGLE-ING your name that night when I got home=). I remember the look on your face when I told you I wanted to name my son Malik and you told me that was your last name. I remember teasing you about protesting the war. I remember talking to you about your political beliefs, all of which revolved around having character and respect for all people. I remember calling you at like 11:53 pm the night before your 21st birthday because I was so anxious to wish you a Happy Birthday. I remember you completely shocking me by being willing to take a train to Ohio just to hang out with me for a couple days. I remember telling you so many of my secrets. I remember reading your palms. I remember looking at your sketchbook. I remember arguing with you about the most dumbest things, and I remember just holding your hand and watching tv in complete silence. Most of all, I remember you, and nobody can ever take that away from me. I KNOW I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN.


Monday, November 28, 2005


I am cleaning out my office and found a letter you wrote me after closing the store. You wrote,

"Hi Aliya, Just wanted to let you know that we are out of whole milk and strawberries. Catch you tomorrow night. Tombol"

I miss you so much, and broke down when I found this note. I don't think I ever got the whole milk and strawberries for the next day, but it is comforting to know you were always looking out for me/the shop. Thinking about you all the time.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Memorial Resolution to Tombol Adopted by the Illinois State Senate.


WHEREAS, The members of the Senate of the State of Illinois
learned with regret of the untimely death of Tombol Malik on on
July 9, 2005; and

WHEREAS, As a young boy, Tombol memorized the names of
cities in countries across the world; as a young man, he
enjoyed traveling and had recently visited Brazil, Ireland, and
Egypt; he was a political science major at the University of
Illinois at Chicago and a budding photographer who planned to
study in Germany;

Full Text...

Monday, October 31, 2005


Tombol and I weren't close friends-we knew each other via the small Hyde Park/Kenwood/Whitney Young social network-but he was a very, very special person to me. I've been prolonging writing this, because I get choked up whenever I peek at this blog. However, in the wake of the loss of yet another Kenwood alum this weekend, I've realized how often I think of Tombol and I feel that I would be remiss in not acknowledging publicly how truly beautiful he was. For such a FINE young man, he was uncommonly kind- we had great discussions on the streets of Hyde Park about hip-hop- and gave us the hook up at Cafe Florian. Low-key, he was part of the reason I went there so often! I had the opportunity to hang out at his apartment a few times during my last extended trip home and I always wished that we had kept in touch. The night after he was taken from us, I spoke to my sister (who knew him a bit better) and she told me that just that weekend they had hung out and he had spoken highly of me. Just to think that I registered on the radar of someone that amazing still makes me smile.

Tombol: May God keep your beauty in our hearts forever. And you were right- the "Respiration" remix is the coldest hip-hop remix of all time, though I tried very hard to find one that was better! I'll be rooting for the Sox for you.

To the Malik family and friends: Know that this young man's spirit will live on in the hearts of many. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Jamilah-Asali Lemieux

Friday, October 21, 2005

White Sox


Your White Sox are in the world series!

I know you're behind this :) and with every win, I smile (actually, I scream and act like a crazy person) because I know you're there. I watch for you. I know you would've been camped out for tickets, sporting a championship beanie and talking non-stop White Sox if you were here. But here's the deal ... to me... you are here, and to me ... you're pulling some strings up there so that we can all enjoy something that you would've cherished so much.

My pain does not go away, but when I can remember you and smile I know it's what you would want.

So ..... Go White Sox!!

Forever missing you-

Friday, September 30, 2005

To Tombol

To Tombol:
I see you everyday. I see someone with your profile, your eyes, your smile, your physique,....your presence. Last week,on my way to work, I saw YOU. Not with one of these similarities, but all of them. It was 9am, and I could've cared less that I was late, on my way to work. I passed my stop on the red line, and like a crazy woman, I followed "you". It was early morning rush hour on state street. I lost you in a sea of people. I stood there for a long time and wondered,....have I finally lost my mind?? As much as the odd incident scared me, I welcome any sign from you. I
am not scared. I have refused to delete your cell # and I often send you text messages. My phone tells me my messages have been sent to you. And in some messed up way, this helps me. I feel you around me everyday, and as always I welcome your
presence. I Thank you always, and please know your face is with me always.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bringing people together

I remember you in the photo, standing tall against the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. Your left shoulder in the direction of America but you looking east. I also remember you when you answered the door to a nervous Irishman, your welcoming smile disarming my worries. Though it was only momentary when you introduced me to your “big” brothers, I will never forget your openness, your understanding and your insight. You brought people together. And you still are…

For this I am truly thankful. You will always live in my thoughts and dreams.

We are blessed to have known you and although I only knew you for a short time you will always be my brother, and I yours.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

We do not forget

Dearest Malik family,

We do not forget you and your sorrow. We yearn for justice to be served. The hole in our hearts will never close, but we take refuge in our special angel watching over us. Perhaps Tombol can now put everything into perspective, while we, such mere and lowly mortals are left to carry on as best we can. Tombol lives in spirit, time is relative and soon we will be with him and all who have left this life for the next. Although Tombol left this world way too soon, it is so obvious from this blog that perhaps he had filled his purpose early in life. He left such a profound effect on people, quite unusual for a young man of just 23. I am touched by the words of his loving family. Not many families can say they have experienced such love within a family. I think of you everyday dear family, and my political family here in Spain and my friends ask about you and Anthony and the whole fugitive situation on a regular basis. You are most loved and thought of and I just wanted to write again to remind you of that.

With love and respect,
Annie Popelka
Madrid, Spain

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Deepest Sympathies

Dear Malik Family,

I haven't been very good at keeping up on information from Hyde Park lately, and the terrible news about Tombol just made it out to me today. For the past 3 hours I've been sitting in the library in a state of shock, remembering Tombol and reading the testimonials from the many, many people that loved him and whose lives he touched.

I knew Tombol's older siblings better than I knew him. I chiefly remember Tombol as the baby of the family, still too young to join the big kids as we raced about, playing tag behind the apartment on Drexel or on the U of C campus.

When I ran into Shiera and Samil at a New Year's Eve party many years later, Shiera told me that I wouldn't believe it if I saw how big Tombol had become. Now I'm saddened to think that I'll never get to meet the wonderful young man he grew up to be. From reading the many entries in the blog, he was a wonderful young man indeed, and someone I would have been lucky to know better.

Sati, Shiera, Samil and Karen, my thoughts are with you during this sad time. I wish you much peace.

Ben Newton
Madison, WI

Thursday, August 11, 2005

To the Malik family

I must be honest, when I first heard on the news the incident that happened July 9, I didn't pay much attention. So much crime occurs that you tend to become numb to it all. But when I saw pictures of your family's anguish during the protest demostration at UIC , I felt great sorrow. It was obvious that you loved Tombol dearly. And yet again I quickly put the images of your grief in the back of my mind.

But then I learned from a news article that your family was from Hyde Park and sudden I found myself more interested than ever. You see, I also grew up in Hyde Park and though I don't ever recall meeting Tombol or the Malik family I somehow feel connected to your grief. For the past two weeks I have googled Tombol's name in order to get more details of his tragic death. The sheer brutality of the crime angers me and it is only deepened by the numerous accounts I have read on this blog attesting to Tombol's good character . In reviewing the pictures of Tombol with his family, especially those of he and his brothers as children, it is obvious that he was dearly loved. He appeared to be such a genuine little boy who, from all accounts, maintained that trait in adulthood. I'm so very sorry for your family's loss and pray that the men responsible for his death are held accountable. I have no siblings of my own, but if I did I wish they were like Tombol and his brothers and sister. You all seem like such a loving family. I plan to follow the criminal investigation of this awful crime and will always have Tombol and your family in my prayers.

God bless,


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My deepest sympathy

Dear The Malik Family,

Tombol was a blessing from God. His warm heart and gentle spirit was unlike any I have ever encountered. I know Tombol is with God and his love and kindness is shining down on the world. He will always be remembered. May God provide you with love and strength.


Shadia Sadaqa

Ray School 1997

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Littlest Brother

Littlest Brother,

You were the best part of me--the gentle, caring, accepting side. The memories we shared were so deep and so many. We could sit and swap jokes and amusing stories for hours. You, Samil, and I had a special code when we were together that only we could decipher. Whenever we got together it was like we had never left each others' side. I will miss that sacred fraternity we had. Of the three of us you were the most pure, always seeing the best in people, always quick to smile. When I heard that you were in the morgue that fateful morning I cried and cried. I tried to protect you from all the evil in the world but I could never succeed. Throughout the years, no matter how much I tried to harden your heart it would always resist, remaining as soft as when you were a newborn. You were an angel and the devil took you from me that morning because you were too good for this world. I will always miss your gentle spirit.

Love for eternity,


Monday, August 08, 2005

To Family Malik

It is amazing how a friend's loss touches those who never knew Tombol. What I did know is that his sister thought very much of all her brothers, especially Tombol. I wish the Malik family solace in their grief, light in their depression and love in their time of need.

In losing someone so young, it brings to mind Horatio's words in Hamlet (act 5, scene 2)

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Our thoughts are with Shiera and her family,


I think about you everyday.
I know living is so hard right now.

Taking care of yourselves is the most important thing you can do.
This note is from someone who wishes she knew Tombol.
He made the world a better place.


Sunday, August 07, 2005


I met Tombol a small handful of times through a mutual friend (Kelly Hartford) and like so many others have already written, his light was captivating. I learned of Tombols tragedy at a time I, myself was going through a "tragic" moment. I only wish I could have been present for the vigils but my thoughts and prayers were with him as I pleaded for my own heartache. Only now have I come back to earth from my own lifes drama that I am able to write to this beautiful family, which reminds me so much of mine, and try to "hold a hand". May God bless us all. My prayers are with you.

Mayra Neria

My Dear Friend Tombol

To The Malik Family…

I met your beautiful Tombol in the Spring of 2003. I was blessed enough to be in the same political science class at Harold Washington College. We gravitated towards each other in the way that kindred spirits tend to do. After a few class meetings, we were sitting next to each other; smiling and laughing as if we had known each other forever. Tombol had a presence – a warm, compassionate, gentle presence - that made you feel like you could be yourself and he would accept you just as you were.

We had to take part in community service for our service learning portion of the class. I spoke to the class one day about the needs of abused/neglected children in our community – and Tombol jumped on my bandwagon. We signed up to volunteer together with CASA of Cook County, to advocate for children who have no voice of their own. We attended training in March 2003 – I'd pick him up and we'd drive in together. I marveled at how such a young man could be so dedicated to helping other people. Besides the training days, he promised to dedicate (at least) the next 18 months of his life to being an advocate for abused/neglected children. The day we were sworn in, we were both so excited. We had hoped to volunteer together (on one case).

Tombol was a very special person and friend. Anyone who I ever introduced him to was instantly taken with him. He was truly beautiful, inside and out. We spent many hours on the phone. Sometimes we'd "talk" about absolutely nothing until every phone battery had been run down. And other times we'd have these deeply moving discussions about how we wanted to change the world. I would give anything to pick up the phone and hear his voice again. Or to call him "Fievel" (and apparently, after reading this incredibly moving blog, I wasn't the only one!)

One of the biggest regrets in my life is that we lost touch over these past few years. Our lives brought us in different directions, and we were both so busy… phone numbers change, you transfer schools, you move… but you know your paths will cross again one day so you don't sweat it. Then one day you find out that someone that meant so much to you has been permanently taken from your life. I am so very sorry for your loss. I share in your sorrow. If I can be of any assistance to your family, please let me know. I pray for your hearts to be healed and for justice. I thank you for raising such a caring, phenomenal human being. Although I am deeply saddened, I am also joyful that I had the pleasure of calling him "friend".

Danelle Altman

Deepest Regrets


I did not know Tombol but I did attend Kenwood Academy during the time he was there. We had 1st period computer class together with Mr. Lilly. Although I was just in 7th grade at the time, the moment I saw his face in the paper I knew exactly who he was. Our class was sort of a hostile one so no one really spoke to each other but the
times I did hear him speak, he had such a peaceful like voice, it made me forget how much I hated the class. Words cannot express how sorry I feel for your family and they cannot express how much anger I feel whenever I read more about the case. But please take comfort in the fact that your son had such a helpful soul that he would try to assist a stranger off the street. I dont know many if any people in Chicago that would do that. My deepest sympathy go out to you and everyone who knew your son. And just think of his passing as God selecting his best early so they can help him reign. And rest assured that Chicago mourns with you over this senseless case.

God Bless

Monique King
Kenwood Academy c/o 04

My Condolences


My name is Rick Herrera and I am a friend of Alan. We have met twice- once at Zentra and the last time at Alan and Sadie's where we played cards.I know we don't really know each other but I wanted to extend to you and your family my sympathy and the hope for justice to be served. The offender that has skipped his court appearances can't run for long and I know he will be caught eventually. Again, I am so, so sorry for your family's loss and I wish you all the best.

Much Sadness,

Rick Herrera

Thursday, August 04, 2005

To the Family and Friends of Tombol

This past week has been one that no mother or father, sister or brother, no friends should have to endure. As I have read through the outpouring of love for Tombol and listened to the griefstricken voice of my daughter, I have realized what a gift the world has lost with Tombol's passing. I only met him once briefly at F212 while visiting my daughter, Lana, but the light, and joy and serenity that surrounded him could not be missed. He greeted me as if he had known me all his life and I felt the same. It is rare that a spirit as shining as Tombol's comes into one's life, no matter how fleeting. It is a tragedy beyond comprehension that he is no longer with us in this world. But a grace and beauty such as Tombol possesses will never be lost to those of us so fortunate as to have been in his company.

My love and thoughts are with you all.

Blessed be,
Lana's Mom

To my dearest Tombol

Ok, here I go... it's has been 26 days since Tombol's murder and each day that I wake up in the morning, I still feel like it has all been a horrible and disgusting nightmare. Recently, I feel that I am more capable to go to work and run my daily errands, but it just isn't the same anymore without Tombol's presence (on earth). Everywhere I go in the city reminds me of Tombol. I am so grateful that Anthony is in one piece and a live; maybe that is why it has been so difficult for me to write and email this blog entry. I still want to believe it has been a dream and that Tombol is only on a long vacation...

When I see Anthony in so much pain, and anger and sadness, it destroys me. Tombol and him were inseparable! Dating Anthony wasn't easy because the handsome "Tombol" came with the package! Where ever Anthony is, Tombol was right there by his side. From that moment on, I had the pleasure to meet such a beautiful, compassionate,
intelligent, opinionated and hilarious human being that I called my friend and my family. And I have enjoyed and cherished every fond memory of Tombol. I first met Tombol when Anthony and him took the blue line to surprise me at my dormitory when I started at UIC. Tombol, you were a pure gentlmen. When I first met you, you made me feel so at ease and safe. You always made sure I was doing ok and that Anthony was treating me well. Now, who is going to check up on me and give me that security that you have provided so willingly. Only you understood how I felt when Anth and I had disputes because you knew Anthony the best. Only you made it a point to make me realize that I deserve the best. You made it a point to always check up on your friends and make sure that they are doing well.

I am heart broken as my eyes are filled with tears each night thinking about all the memories we have had as a little family here in the city of chicago. I remember Wednesday nights were always a blast when we would start out at Pizano's for pizza and we would all sit at "our" round table and you guys would crack mama jokes. And boy did you have an appetite! Then the night would always end by heading to Nick's for a few games of pool. Whenever Tombol and I played as partners, we would never lose a game! Oh, how I miss those nights...

To my dearest Tombol, you have left quite an impression of yourself throughout the heart of Chicago and Chicago's extended family and friends. I promise I will never forget you Tombol. Your spirits, your voice, your laugh-- I can still feel and hear it so clearly. I never imagined myself saying good bye to you so soon. Life is unfair. One day we will meet again, where ever that place may be. Thank you for being in my life, and thank you for showing me how great life can be. If I cannot see you ever again on Earth, will you please come visit me in my dreams? I miss you dearly.

Lisa Lui aka Leeser

My heartfelt condolences

Dear Malik family,

I never had the fortune of meeting tombol, but like so many others have really been moved by the coverage of this tragic situation. From his beautiful smile in all the photos and the love and admiration articulated in all the messages, i can see what a gentle and caring soul he was, and just how many lives he was able to touch.

I wanted to share the following quote with you from Kahlil Gibran: "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

May the spirit of the great "tomboloni" be carried on forever by his family and loved ones through their strength, memories, laughter, and harmony.

You all continue to be in my thoughts and prayers...

Rakhi Patel

I’m lost in thoughts and feelings, in memories, in anger, disappointment, regret…

My name is Christian Hodgson, or Hodg, I met Tombol in the spring of 1998 when he came to Germany the first time, taking part in an exchange program between schools from Chicago and Hamburg. We enjoyed two great weeks together, and became friends. It is difficult to stay in touch over the distance, but somehow we managed, and when I came to Chicago for the first time half a year later we continued our conversations for example about an open-house-exchange system for travelers and other interesting stuff. He was so full of ideas, curious in very different fields, and always questioning everything. I was back during the summer of 2000, and I remember he tried to show me the famous Chicago Blues Scene. But I was still underage, and we didn’t get into any places… Finally we found something where the bouncer was not paying attention, sneaked in, enjoyed the band and ordered a drink. I just had a sip, when someone found us, and we got thrown out. It were those moments when one admired his ability to make the best of any situation, always looking at things positively, radiating a very unique, calm energy. The last time I saw him was during the summer of 2004. The night before I had to leave, we went for a long walk after some party, and ended up at the lake, enjoying a Cuban cigar, watching the sunrise. Cuba was one of his dreams, as Brazil was one of mine. There was a lot to learn with and from him, and he could have given so much more…

We spoke around Christmas, but then lost touch. I feel very, very sorry for that. I was and still am in shock about what happened. Why don’t we appreciate people until they are gone? The thought of not being able to speak and laugh with him is very painful. He enriched so many lives, and he was sooo not done yet.

I wish I could be there for the Malik family now. I wish I could have been there for Tombol.

Just sometimes a smile crosses through my tears. It is an honor to have known such an exceptional person. He would be the best to comfort us. It’s up to us to carry on his spirit.

Much love from Serbia,
Hodg / Christian

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

To my baby brother...

There are no words to describe the incredible pain I feel. You were my little brother, best friend, and confidant. I will never forget our trips to comic book stores and our late nights of baseball card trading as kids. And as we grew older, our talks about our lives and our future. It breaks my heart that your future on this earth was so brutally taken from you.

Your incredible compassion for others and your ability to be so accepting of people (even when others were not) have and will always amaze me. Your positive outlook on the world and your confidence in the good of humanity at such a young age is a testament to your enduring love and maturity.

From the moment I held you as an infant to your growth into a beautiful and talented young man, my admiration and adoration for you has and will never change. My love for you is never ending just as I know your spirit will NEVER EVER die. I love you baby.


What to say?

Well I don't really know how the fact that one of my favorite people from high school was brutally murdered pass over my radar but I must say that upon seeing the article in the red eye this morning my eyes filled with tears and I could not stop crying. For six stops past where I was meant to get off I sat and wept for Tombol.
I kept saying in my head what was the motive? You know when people die everyone wants to say how great they are and make the person to be, someone with great flaws but in my 5 years of knowing him, of bumping into him, of walking along the lake with him in Hyde Park, of helping him figure out how time worked in AP Euro. I smile when I think of Tombol and I never think that I will ever do anything besides that...physical looks aside (I nicknamed him Supermodel), he was one of the most beatiful young men that I ever encountered. My deepest regrets to those who lost such an amazing kid, and to those who will never be graced with his laughter and smiles. As he would say "Carpe Diem."

Aaron Bowen


Malik family-

I am deeply saddened by your tragic loss. Please accept my sincerest condolences, and know you are in the prayers of many.

Rahul Pandhi

A Letter to Tombol

Dear Tombol,

I wake up every morning in disbelief that you are gone and i will not be able to see your smiling face again. I think that is why it has taken me so long to write something on your blog, because i still don't want to believe what has happened to you. Since the day that I found out what happened to you my heart and eyes have not stopped crying. I remember the first time i met you I thought you were the most amazing dancer and we danced the whole night together! That was about two years ago. This past year i was able to know you better as a friend. You were part of my chicago family, and I called you my brother. You would always come to my place to have dinner and play video games with Anthony. I was so amazed by your intelligence, your ability to make friends with anyone, your ability to be so loved by everyone, and your appetite! I will miss our wednesday nights at pizano's with you and the guys doing your "wise guy" talk at our circle table in the corner. I will also miss your hugs that you gave me when I just needed a hug, having a dance partner when no one was willing to dance, and the laughs that we shared together. I will always keep you in my heart and I always share great stories about you to everyone I meet. You were a great guy and you are one of those people that have made a big impact on my life. I am bleseed to have known you, and I hope you will save a dance for me up in heaven.


your friend,

Kristina Granados
Los Angeles, CA

P.S. to the Malik family, Anthony, and friends I am truly sorry for your
breaking hearts.



When I heard the news...I immediately cried. I am in shock that you were the victim of something of this nature. You were truly an amazing person. You touched my life for a brief period but you will be forever missed. I remember all the times we had fun. Thank you for the laughs. If angels are a real, I know you're one. Rest in peace. I hope you're watching over your family and are guiding them through this rough time.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Malik Family: Condolences

My heart literally aches regarding this tragedy. Tombol will always be the intelligent, sensitive young man with the sweet smile in my history class at Kenwood Academy. Please accept my deep condolences.

Bonnie F. Tarta

My Dearest Tombol

To the Malik Family,

In times like these, it is hard to find the right words to say, but I will try my best to speak from my heart.

Tombol Sharafuddin Malik has left an everlasting impression on my life, and for two reasons. First, for his hand in molding me into the person I have become, and secondly for showing me what true love is (for these things, Tombol, I am
so grateful and I thank you). Tombol has done so many great things and has affected so many lives in such positive ways. He was beautiful in every sense of the word and
through those who care for him and love him, his beauty will forever be.

Malik family, you are in my prayers and in my heart always. Please, take care of yourselves and know that I am here if you ever need me for any reason.

Love Always and God Bless You,
Stephanie Jackson

Samil and Family

Dear Samil and Family,

I am so sorry about this tragedy you and your family are going through now. I live only a mile away from there and to hear that it was your brother made me quite angry. I will always remember you making sure everyone was having a good time or was doing okay if we ever went out down at U of I. To hear that was what your brother was doing really hit home with me. My deepest sympathies and regards to you and your family Samil.




As everyone else, i was deeply shocked and saddened when i heard what happened to Tombol. I haven't seen or talked to you in probably a decade...i'm not sure you even remember me. i'm an old friend from kenwood and i think we lost touch over something really fault no doubt. anyway, i have not forgotten you and i just wanted to you to know that i have vivid pleasant memories of Tombol when i knew him as a little guy...our younger siblings were the same age. i took heart in seeing his adult pictures on your family blog. i pray that time does its work in healing your wounds of loss and that justice be served. i'm thinking of you and your family.

take care,
yamani (formerly johnson-taylor)

My best friend Tombol Malik

Tombol was one of my best friends and one of the greatest teachers that I ever had. Since he was murdered I have reflected on the profound impact that he had on my life. Tombol taught me so much about life, friendship, trust, truth, everything, that I know I am an extremely different person from knowing him. Tombol was amazing; it was so fun to be with him because he would make the most out of any situation. If we were going clubbing or just chilling playing video games he would never complain and make sure to have a blast. It was so easy to be around Tombol, I never had to worry about how he would get along with people. Tombol had that special intelligence that allowed him to be comfortable with any type of person. What was even more amazing was everyone else was always comfortable around him. I never introduced Tombol to anyone who did not immediately like him and feel at ease when they were with him. But Tombol was much more than a fun guy to be around; we often debated the ways of the world, politics, power, religion, class, race, nationality, love, relationships, morals, everything. It was refreshing to be around someone who was eager to challenge themselves and discuss their views and ways of thinking in an effort to learn and teach. We learned so much from each other. The mind can do strange things and in one of my deepest moments of pain, anger, suffering, and struggle since this happened, I thought to myself, I need to speak with Tombol, he will have something to say that will help me. I quickly realized it was him that we were mourning and this helped me to understand how important of a man that we lost. Tombol Malik is dead in the physical sense. But he will forever be alive in me and in everyone that he met and knew. Everyone that I meet will then be eternally affected by me, and as Tombol is a part of me, they will be affected by Tombol, and then so on and so forth. I promise that I will strive to uphold the morals, convictions, and compassion that Tombol had and take his characteristics into my life, and this is how Tombol’s spirit will never die.

Benjamin Drake