A California man who lived successfully for 3 months on the secure side of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will be back in Cook County court Friday morning, asking for a modification of bond which could potentially lead to his return to the west coast.
Aditya Singh was arrested at O'Hare 10 days ago. Prosecutors said he stepped off a flight from Los Angeles Oct. 19, and spent the ensuing three months on the secure side of the terminals, somehow avoiding detection.
Shortly after his arrest, Singh was released on $10,000 bond and required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet as he took up residence at a Chicago homeless shelter. As a condition of bail, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered him to stay away from the airport, calling the charges against him "shocking."
On Wednesday, he returned to court. Far from the rumpled and bearded version of his booking photos, Singh appeared clean-shaven, alert, and focused during a brief appearance by video-link in a hearing at the Skokie courthouse.
During that session, his court-appointed public defender, Lindsey Anderson, asked for another hearing on Friday, to discuss modifications of Singh's bail.
Prosecutor Robert Schwartz indicated that he expected that motion would include a request for Singh to be allowed to return to California.
Longtime friends expressed shock at the allegations, saying it did not sound like the person they knew.
"It seemed very unlike him to do something like just disengage from the outside world," said Adam Dinkledine, who shared a house with Singh when both were students at Oklahoma State University during the fall 2017 semester.
"I definitely would not have seen that coming at all," Dinkledine told NBC 5. "I hope that he can get some help that is appropriate for this situation."
An online video posted by the university shows Singh making a presentation for his PhD in 2018. That presentation focused on food waste and hunger issues. Friends say it was an issue about which he was passionate.
"He'd walk into a room and he'd lighten up the space," said Katherine Ruck, who worked with Singh at Oklahoma State's Taylor's Dining Room, a restaurant linked to the university's Hospitality school. "He was a super good example of what a person in the hospitality industry seeks to do, which is engage others, and inspire others."
Ruck said Singh was responsible for an effort to gather the restaurant's unused food, and supply it to a local center which focused on homelessness and hunger.
"He took really good care of people," she said. "And he wanted to make people aware of problems that exist in society and how we can contribute in really small ways."
Both Ruck and Dinkledine said the man arrested after three months wandering the airport did not sound like the one they knew.
"The man I knew was super caring and open," Ruck said. "If you were to approach him you would feel really inspired."