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A University Dining Service employee was found dead last week by Philadelphia Police, when the woman's body was pulled from the Schuylkill River near the South Street Bridge. Mary Richards, a 21-year employee of the University, was found July 9 by the Police Marine Unit. "She was very nice," said Dining co-worker Shirley Brown. "She never caused anybody any trouble." According to Philadelphia Police Detective Price Mathis, Medical Examiner's reports show that Richards died from drowning. But Richards' daughter, Basimah Sami, said that family members believe that the tragedy's suspicious circumstances may indicate foul play. Sami said that three days before Richards' body was found, Richard's son was involved in a fight "with seven guys" which left him in critical condition in a local hospital. "The only thing she would say was to let the police handle it," Sami said, adding that Richards believed she knew her son's attackers, as they lived in the same neighborhood -- the Blumberg Projects. "She said she knew it wasn't over," Sami said. And on Sunday night, July 7, Sami said Richards uncharacteristically left her home after dark, possibly in search of the men. She was then found dead two days later. "It's a lot of unanswered questions. I want [police] to take it a little further," Sami said of the incident. "It leads me to believe that there was foul play involved." Price said that police are waiting for further reports from the Medical Examiner's office and may continue with further investigations. He added that the police were not aware of Richards' son's hospitalization, as no police report was ever filed. Hospitality Services Director Don Jacobs said that Richards' influence would be missed by Dining Service workers. He added that she had a special talent with people with handicaps. "She worked well with handicaped people," he said. "I used to remark that she was a kind person." Dining co-worker Brown added that Richards enjoyed working at the University. "She loved her job," she said. "You couldn't take her away."

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