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As a parent, I get very upset and angry at stories I hear about parents harming or murdering their own children. I often stop and think: How can a parent do something like that to their own flesh and blood? Children are supposed to be a joy and a blessing from God. Parents are to be the ones that kids should turn to and trust when all else fails. There are many, many stories of domestic violence cases in the United States that often end in tragedy as the case I’m writing about today. When I hear about these cases, I often wonder what I can do, being a tiny fish in a large ocean, to help kids in situations like these before it’s too late. No child should have to go through abuse and molestation, but so many do, with family and friends knowing about it, but doing nothing to stop it. Below is a story that broke my heart when I heard about it on CNN. I hope it sheds some light on how important it is to take a stand against abuse and molestation. These two teenage girls may have survived this tragedy had someone taken a stand to help them. All it takes is one person to make a difference in life or death.
I recently began watching “The Hunt With John Walsh” on Netflix. John lost his own child to abduction and murder and has since become heavily involved in the search for and prosecution of fugitives. You know him from “America’s Most Wanted.” I recently watched a season 2 episode of “The Hunt” called “Crimes of the Father.” It’s the story of Yaser Abdel Said – an Egyptian-American taxi driver who, on January 1, 2008, allegedly lured his two teenage daughters into his taxi cab where he proceeded to shoot both of them to death. Amina was shot twice, and Sarah nine times. Sarah was able to call 911 before she died, saying “Help, my dad shot me! I’m dying, I’m dying!” Authorities suspect that the murders were “honor killings.” Said allegedly believed that his two daughters were a disgrace to his family because they were becoming “too Westernized” and not adhering to the Egyptian customs he was attempting to force upon them. At points, his daughters said that Said viewed them as “whores.” Said also allegedly believed that the two girls should be punished for not conforming to the strict Egyptian customs, and ultimately killed them for it.
Said was very controlling of his two daughters, and often video or audio-taped them without them knowing. He often threatened the two girls that he was going to kill them, and the two girls believed that those threats were sincere. Sarah was worried that he would kill her boyfriend, so she kept his name hidden from Said and never let the two meet.
There were signs of molestation and abuse from the times the girls were both very young up until the time of their deaths in 2008. In 1998, after the two girls had returned from a trip to visit family, they told their grandmother that Said had molested them, but then took back their story because they just wanted to find a way to have to move to different schools. Sarah and Amina continued to confide in their friends that Said abused them. They would often show up to school with bumps and bruises. At one point, Amina’s injuries were so bad she needed medical attention, but her mother refused to let her go to the hospital.
One thing that I have yet to understand since seeing this case on CNN is how the mother of these girls kept putting them back in harm’s way when they clearly were fearful for their lives. Why didn’t she do all she could to make sure they were safe? The two girls had left for Oklahoma to get away from Said, but their mother convinced them that he would never hurt them, and so the two girls moved back home. The mother, Patricia, had also been abused by this man.
It is so heartbreaking to read a story like this and watch the lives of two innocent children be taken away by a man who is supposed to be protecting, loving, and caring for them. With all of the obvious signs of abuse and continued threats, I really don’t understand how Sarah and Amina were kept in permanent danger. Why didn’t someone speak up? My wife and I love our kids so much that it would tear us completely to shreds if anything ever happened to them. How Said just disregarded his position as a father and killed them in cold blood is mind-boggling to me. I don’t pretend to understand the rationale he had for justifying the murder of his two daughters, nor will I ever. What he did was brutal, ruthless, and cowardly. The fact that he is still on the run living his life makes me sick to my stomach. I pray that justice be served upon him and that he pay for the crimes he committed. No parent in their right mind would ever do anything to harm their children, but Said had no mercy, no conscious, no regrets for what he did. He needs to be found, arrested, and prosecuted.
After the murders, Yaser Said disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. The FBI believes that he may be a cab driver in New York. In 2014, Said was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. There is currently up to a $100,000 reward being offered for information leading to Said’s arrest. Below is the poster from the FBI’s website. I feel like I am contributing in some way by bringing this case to my readers’ attention and sharing the information I have read.
If you or a friend/loved one are victims of domestic violence, there is help! Don’t put it off! Those making the threats to you will try to force you to keep quiet, but it will only make things more dangerous. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Here are some helpful domestic violence resources:
- CDC: Prevent Domestic Violence in Your Community
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline