Yaser Abdel Said

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Yaser Abdel Said
Photograph taken in 2006
Photograph taken in 2006
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive
Charges
Reward$100,000
AliasYaser Abdel Fattah Mohammad Said
Yaser Abdel Saeed
Description
Born (1957-01-27) January 27, 1957 (age 64)
Sinai, Egypt
NationalityEgyptian-American
GenderMale
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight180 lb (82 kg)
OccupationTaxi driver
SpousePatricia Owens (1987-2009)
ChildrenAmina Said
Sarah Said
Islam Said
Status
AddedDecember 4, 2014
CaughtAugust 26, 2020
Number504
Captured

Yaser Abdel Said (Arabic: ياسر عبد السيد‎; born January 27, 1957) is an Egyptian-American former taxi driver accused of murder. For 12 years, Said evaded arrest for the January 1, 2008, fatal shootings of his two daughters, Amina (18) and Sarah (17). Their bodies were found in his abandoned taxi cab in Irving, Texas, on the property of the Omni Mandalay Hotel (now the Omni Las Colinas Hotel).[1][2]

Said disappeared after the killings and remained a fugitive from law enforcement for 12 years, with six of those years being on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List for the fatal shootings. It is widely believed that Said killed his daughters as an honor killing.[3]

Said, who was very controlling over his family, felt that his daughters Amina and Sarah dishonored the family by refusing to adhere to traditional Islamic cultural behavior. On January 1, 2008, he lured them into his taxi cab on the pretense of taking them out to eat, where it is alleged he fatally shot them.[4]

Said was captured on August 26, 2020, without incident in the town of Justin, Texas. His son, Islam, and his brother, Yassein, were both arrested in Euless, Texas, for aiding a fugitive.[5] The FBI said Said is in federal custody and will soon be transferred to Dallas County. The Northern District of Texas will be the jurisdiction in which Said will be tried for "Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution."[6][7]

Background and family[edit]

Said was born in Sinai, Egypt. He came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1983. Said married Patricia "Tissie" Owens in February 1987 when he was 30 and she was 15.[8] Patricia later alleged that Said abused her during their marriage.[9] Amina was born in 1989, and Sarah was born in 1990.[10][11] The couple also had a son named Islam Said, born in 1988, and Said also had a previous daughter, born in 1987, with another woman.[citation needed] Said later became a permanent resident, eventually gaining citizenship in 1997.[12][13]

Abuse of Amina and Sarah[edit]

The girls told family and friends that their father physically and sexually abused them. Sarah wrote "he treats me like a whore" in an instant message conversation to a friend. On several occasions, Amina appeared at school with bruises as well as a split lip at one point. Amina told her friends that the wounds were inflicted by her father, and her mother did not allow her to seek medical attention.[14] Amina told authorities she had been penetrated at least once.[3]

Said would often spy on his daughters by video or audio-taping them without their knowledge.[15][16] Amina stated she was afraid of using the public telephone "because he [Said] gets in everywhere, he knows everything".[17][18] She also wrote in emails that her father intended to kill her.[4] When she was 16, Said took Amina to Egypt allegedly to arrange a marriage for her to a much older friend of his, but Amina rejected the marriage.

Sarah got an after-school job working in a convenience store. Said began video-taping her at work and punished her for smiling too much at the customers.[19]

Amina began dating a boy named Joseph Moreno, whom she met while taking Taekwondo classes. When Said was out of the country, she felt anxious about meeting Moreno, imagining that Said would be watching her with binoculars.[15] Amina told Moreno not to call or text her if she sent a code word to him because she was afraid that her father would go through her phone. Eventually, Said found a note that she had written to Moreno. Amina told him that these notes were to an imaginary boyfriend. Said, not trusting Amina, continued his search in order to uncover Amina's relationship.

Said moved his family 20 miles (32 km) to a new house in Lewisville, Texas,[15] prompting Amina to make plans to run away with Moreno, get married in Las Vegas, and start a new life. Moreno then dropped out of high school in order to earn money, so that he could save up enough money in order to help her leave. Moreno also stated: "[Said] regularly threatened to kill Amina, and she knew he meant it."[15] Amina was worried that Moreno would be killed by her father, and she refused to give her father his name while she was beaten, following Said's persistent accusations.

Murders of Amina and Sarah[edit]

After Christmas in 2007,[15] Amina and Sarah ran away with their mother Patricia to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Amina's boyfriend had relatives. Patricia allegedly told her daughters that December 31 was her mother's death anniversary and that she wanted to drive to East Texas to put flowers on her grave. However, Yaser, after having inundated Patricia with phone calls (from himself and other relatives) that were initially unsuccessful, eventually convinced her to return home with the girls.[15] When Patricia communicated this change of plans to her daughters, Sarah reluctantly agreed to return, while Amina refused, ultimately seeking refuge in her friend's house. Patricia drove to the friend's house and pounded on the door, starting an argument with Amina to try to convince her to return to Said. Amina still refused to go. Patricia insisted and stood unmoved in the doorway, saying that her father had forgiven her and would like the girls to return home.[20]

On January 1, 2008, Yaser Said took Amina and Sarah to his taxi cab, kissed them, and told them he was taking them out to eat. Patricia initially wanted to come along, but Said told her that he wanted to talk to the girls himself. He drove them both to Irving, where he allegedly shot both girls to death in the taxi cab. Amina died instantly, while Sarah managed to call 911 before she died, screaming "Help, my dad shot me! I'm dying, I'm dying!"[21]

Said's taxi was soon discovered by another cab driver outside the service entrance of the Omni Mandalay Hotel (now the Omni Las Colinas Hotel).[22][23]

Aftermath[edit]

Digital age progression of Said released by FBI in 2014.

After the murders, Said disappeared and although it was first assumed he fled to Egypt, no such record was ever found. Owens filed for divorce in 2009. Alleged sightings of Said driving a taxi in New York City and in Newark, New Jersey, prompted the FBI to issue a statement suggesting he could be in the area.[24][25][26] On December 4, 2014, Said was added to the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives with a $100,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest.[25] Said evaded capture by law enforcement for 12 years and spent six years on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.

Capture[edit]

A break in the case came on August 14, 2017, when a maintenance worker at an apartment complex in Bedford, Texas, where Yaser's son, Islam Said, rented an apartment, reported seeing a man matching Yaser's description inside of Islam's apartment. When detectives showed him a picture of Yaser Said, the worker identified him as the man he had seen in the apartment. At approximately 6:30 p.m. that evening, an agent came into the apartment to interview Islam. He was upset and allegedly refused to cooperate. He then called someone, saying, “We have a problem.” At 1:00 a.m., a search warrant was executed on the apartment, which was empty at the time. However, the police observed a sliding glass patio door open. Below the patio, they noticed a shrub with broken branches, suggesting someone had jumped off the patio and landed on the bush. Next to the flattened bush, they found a pair of eyeglasses, which they collected as evidence. They collected evidence inside the apartment, including several cigarette butts and a toothbrush. The FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, compared the DNA from those items to the DNA of Amina and Sarah, and determined the DNA most likely came from their biological father.[27]

Three years later, in August 2020, the police began 24-hour surveillance on a home in Justin, Texas. They observed Islam and Yassein entering and exiting the home and the shadow of another man inside the home after the two men had left.[28] After a week of surveillance, the FBI obtained a search warrant and arrested Yaser on August 26, 2020.[2][29] On the same day in nearby Euless, Texas, they also arrested Islam, age 32, and Yassein Abdulfatah Said, age 59.[30] Said's son and brother were both charged with concealing a person from arrest. Authorities suspect that other people helped Said evade arrest over the years, and a federal criminal complaint said that Islam was in contact with two more of his father’s brothers.[30]

Trial[edit]

Yaser[edit]

Yaser was indicted on capital murder charges, making him eligible for the death penalty.[31]

Islam[edit]

On January 19, 2021, Islam pleaded guilty to harboring a fugitive, conspiring to harbor a fugitive, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.[32] On April 27, 2021, he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the aforementioned charges.[33][34]

Yassein[edit]

According to his defense, Yassein Abdulfatah Said[34] claimed that he hated Yaser for what he did and that he would have never helped him if he had known what would happen.[35] On February 4, 2021, he was found guilty of conspiracy and harboring a fugitive. He was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison on June 4, 2021.[36]

In popular culture[edit]

The Price of Honor is a 2014 documentary about the murders of Sarah and Amina Said.[37][38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Man accused of killing 2 teen daughters in 2008 has been captured, Irving police and FBI announce". Dallas News. August 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Maintenance Worker's Tip Led To Arrest Of Capital Murder Suspect Yaser Said". August 28, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "For years, friends say, slain sisters lived with their father's threats of violence and abuse". Dallas News. January 10, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Lewisville cab driver sought for "honor killings" of daughters added to FBI's Ten Most Wanted list". The Dallas Morning News Crime Blog. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016.
  5. ^ "Yaser Said, Taxi Driver Accused of Killing His Teen Daughters in 2008, Caught in North Texas".
  6. ^ "Irving Police and FBI announce arrest of man accused of killing his 2 daughters in 2008 - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Yaser Abdel Said". Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  8. ^ Glenna Whitley (June 19, 2008). "American Girls". Dallas Observer. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  9. ^ Perry Chiaramonte (March 26, 2015). "Texas 'honor killing' suspect Yaser Said could be hiding in plain sight as NYC cabbie, private investigator says". Fox News. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  10. ^ ABC News. "'Honor Killing' Motive for Slain Sisters?". ABC News. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  11. ^ "'My dad shot me!': Search exceeds 7 years for father suspected of killing daughters". New York's PIX11. July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "For years, friends say, slain sisters lived with their father's threats of violence and abuse". Dallas News. January 10, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  13. ^ Whitley, Glenna (June 19, 2008). "American Girls". Dallas Observer. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  14. ^ "Articles: The Said Honor Murders: Indict the Mother". American Thinker. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Joseph Moreno (September 25, 2014). "My Teenage Sweetheart Was Killed to Preserve Her Family's 'Honour'". Business Insider.
  16. ^ Glenna Whitley (June 19, 2008). "American Girls". Dallas Observer. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  17. ^ "The Price of Honor". Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  18. ^ Guy kills 2 daughters and flees the scene (Warning, Graphic!). YouTube. June 24, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  19. ^ "Two girls murdered in Texas taxi: Were they honor killings?". Reuters. June 18, 2015.
  20. ^ Whitley, Glenna (June 19, 2008). "American Girls". Dallas Observer. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Amina & Sarah Said 911 Call. YouTube. October 23, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  22. ^ Disturbing 911 call- "I'm dying, I'm dying". YouTube. July 19, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  23. ^ "Lewisville cabbie sought in daughters' deaths after bodies found in taxi". Dallas News. December 4, 2014.
  24. ^ "R/UnresolvedMysteries – Yaser Abdel Said Honour Killer at Large 2008 – Where is he?".
  25. ^ a b "FBI – Yaser Abdel Said". FBI. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  26. ^ Honor Killer Yaser Abdel.
  27. ^ "Yaser Said Family Members Charged With Concealing '10 Most Wanted' Suspect From Arrest". www.justice.gov. August 28, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  28. ^ "Yaser Said Family Members Charged With Concealing '10 Most Wanted' Suspect From Arrest". United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Texas. August 28, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  29. ^ "Son of man arrested in 2008 'honor killings' of teen daughters, pleads guilty in helping father evade capture". wfaa.com. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  30. ^ a b "Yaser Said, accused of killing his two daughters in 2008, was nearly caught in 2017, authorities say". Dallas News. August 29, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  31. ^ Martin, Jeffery (August 28, 2020). "Yaser Abdel Said's Family Members Charged With Helping Him Evade Arrest". MSN. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  32. ^ Norman, Greg (January 21, 2021). "Son of Yaser Said, FBI Ten Most Wanted 'honor killings' suspect, pleads guilty to concealing him". Fox News. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  33. ^ Dooley, Erin. "Islam Said Sentenced to 10 Years for Concealing '10 Most Wanted' Suspect from Arrest". FBI.gov. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  34. ^ a b "Brother of Man Accused of Murdering Daughters Found Guilty of Conspiracy, Concealing". KXAS-TV. February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  35. ^ Ramirez Jr., Domingo (February 1, 2021). "Brother of murder suspect Yaser Said hated him for killing daughters, defense lawyer says". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  36. ^ "Yassein Said Sentenced to 12 Years for Concealing '10 Most Wanted' Suspect Yaser Said from Arrest". www.justice.gov. June 4, 2021.
  37. ^ "The Price of Honor". September 7, 2014 – via IMDb.
  38. ^ "The Price of Honor Official Trailer #2 (2016) - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved August 31, 2020.

Further reading[edit]