Man living at O’Hare for 3 months without detection posts bail, ordered on electronic monitoring

CHICAGO — A man who was discovered living at O’Hare International Airport for at least three months has left Cook County Jail after posting bail.

Aditya Singh, 36, was aided by the Chicago Bail Project, which came up with the $1,000 he needed to go free until his next court date after a $10,000 D-bond was set earlier, according to Cook County sheriff’s spokesman Matt Walberg. The Chicago Bail Project also helped secure an undisclosed place for Singh to live while he faces felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor charges. A condition of his Wednesday release was that Singh must be on electric monitoring, Walberg said.

The Chicago Bail Project became aware of the case and sprang into action after conducting interviews and decided he “fit right in” to their cause, said Matthew McFarland, the project’s regional director for the Midwest.

The group linked him to housing and will assist him during his criminal trial, added McFarland, who explained they aim to decrease the large volume of indigent people held in jail populations in various cities.

The group has a revolving bail fund to help those who can’t afford to post bails for nonviolent offenses.

“We treated him as we would anyone else,” McFarland said.

Singh lived in the secure area with access to terminals, shops and food at O’Hare until his arrest Saturday after two United Airlines employees asked to see his identification, prosecutors said. He showed them an airport ID badge that an operations manager had reported missing on Oct. 26.

Police said Singh told them that the coronavirus pandemic left him too afraid to fly and so he instead remained in the airport, often relying on the kindness of strangers to buy him food. His arrest made national headlines, with comparisons to the 2004 Tom Hanks movie “The Terminal.”

After coming to the United States five years ago to complete a master’s degree program, Singh, described as a “gentle soul,” said goodbye to his friends in California on Oct. 19 and boarded a Chicago-bound flight from Los Angeles to begin his journey home to India.

He never made it. In a troubling series of events that raises security questions at one of the world’s busiest airports, authorities allege Singh lived undetected for nearly three months at O’Hare until this past weekend, when someone finally noticed and alerted police.

His next court date was scheduled for Wednesday, Walberg said.