Personal Friend Of Scott Westerhuis Remains In Disbelief

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Eight months after the GEAR UP investigation started, even more charges could soon be coming in the case.

People close to the Westerhuis family also continue to struggle with the horrible events that took place on September 17, 2015.  

Unitl now, no family members or close friends have stepped forward to publicly speak about the murders and suicide.  

Meet Abul Shaifullah, who is currently getting his PhD in computational science at USD.

Back in 2002, he went to work for Mid Central in Platte as its network administrator. The Bangladesh native was a fish out of water in the small town, but was quickly befriended by Scott Westerhuis.  

“I didn’t know anybody–he took me in. I actually felt like part of his family,” Shaifullah said. “I knew all the kids. I was friends with his wife. Anything I did over there — It was with Scott.”

Shaifullah says he and Scott Westerhuis bonded over their love of pumping iron. He tells us the two would workout together at Westerhuis’s house. He even helped him build the big gym left standing on the property. 

“He cared about his family a lot. He was always involved in every facet of their lives as a parent,” Shaifullah said. “He also took in lots of high school kids to his home gym to train them.  “

In his attempt to gain understanding into what went wrong, Shaifullah got involved in the USD Political Science class project that created a web of all of the people who had a role, directly or indirectly with GEAR UP.  Shaifullah is helping to convert it into a digital map.  

“I would really like to know what happened and if I can contribute any way shape or form, I’m more than happy to do it,” Shaifullah said.

But Shaifullah says even that can’t ease the emotional pain at the thought of his friend committing such an horrific act.

“Not in a million year, I would see this what happened happen,” Shaifullah said.

Shaifullah doesn’t believe that Westerhuis was the mastermind of embezzling GEAR UP grant money and he’s not the only one who feels that way.

Tonight at 10 on Eye on KELOLAND investigation, we hear from a former GEAR UP worker who gives us insight into what was going on behind the scenes with the college-readiness program.    

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