Yaser Said, one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, was taken into custody Wednesday after a 12-year manhunt.
Said, now 63, was arrested for allegedly killing his two teenage daughters, 18-year-old Amina and 17-year-old Sarah, on New Year’s Day 2008.
Said’s son, Islam, and his brother, Yassim, were also apprehended and are accused of helping Said evade arrest.
Said was arrested in Justin, Texas, a short distance away from Irving, Texas where the murders took place.
Amina and Sarah, both high school students at the time, were found dead in a taxi their father had borrowed shortly after 911 received a call from Sarah who said that her father had shot her and she was dying.
Listen to the 911 call below:
The tragic story gripped the nation at the time. In 2014, a movie titled “The Price of Honor” was released about the story (see the trailer below).
Said, who was originally from Egypt, had a history of violence and alleged sexual assault of his daughters. He was described as controlling and engaged in sophisticated surveillance of them and his wife, Patricia Owens, the girls’ mother.
Owens, who divorced Said in 2009, said although Said was not religious, he was obsessed that the girls were “becoming too American.”
But what seemed to enrage him the most was when he found out that the girls had boyfriends. A friend of Sarah reported that Sarah told her that Said had threatened to put a bullet in her sister’s head because of the “offense.”
Another friend reported that Amina had come to school with welts all over her body and that Said had kicked her in the face another time when he found notes from her boyfriend.
A male friend of Sarah said, “She always used that term, ‘He would kill me, I would be dead,'” referring to what would happen if her father knew of their friendship.
The situation reached a critical level a week before Christmas in 2007, prompting Owens to take the girls and flee the state. They rented an apartment in Tulsa under an assumed name.
However, the family returned to their home in Lewisville, Texas on New Year’s Eve after Owen’s received assurances from Said’s family that they shouldn’t fear him and that the family would protect them. They offered to have Said stay with them and not in the house with Owens and the girls.
Amina particularly wanted to finish her last year of high school in
Lewisville and was worried that going to a new school in Tulsa might affect the full scholarship she had been offered to Texas Tech University.
On New Year’s Day, Said invited the girls to go out to eat and then allegedly shot them in a taxicab he had borrowed from a friend at an Irving hotel.
Owens reports that in the years following the murders, she was harassed by Said’s family and subjected to constant threats by them. She said they bombarded the media with stories that the girls were going to bars and sexually active as a cover for Said’s behavior.
She also reported that after the murders, someone broke into her house and stole all the birth certificates and passports of her children. Soon after, she says, the family took her mentally handicapped son and sent him to Egypt.
She says he was brainwashed there into thinking that his mother was responsible for his sisters’ deaths.
Matt DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI Dallas field office, declined to give details of how authorities found Said after so many years, simply saying that they relied on “good old-fashioned, aggressive, initiative-based police work.”
DeSarno did say,
“The FBI-led Dallas Violent Crimes Task Force has worked tirelessly to find Yaser Abdel Said. These experienced investigators never gave up on their quest to find him and pledged to never forget the young victims in this case. Said was placed on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List nearly six years ago for the heinous act he committed against his daughters. His capture and arrest bring us one step closer to justice for Amina and Sarah. We want to thank our partners at the Irving Police Department for working with us to apprehend this dangerous individual.”
Sarno said that law enforcement had followed leads all around the world on the case and related that one officer who had been working on the case had pushed off her retirement because of it.
Irving police Chief Jeff Spivey noted,
“On January 1, 2008, the Irving Police Department opened a murder investigation after two young girls were found shot to death. Since that night, the members of the Irving Police Department and our partners with the Dallas FBI have tirelessly pursued justice for Amina and Sarah. Even after 12 years of frustration and dead ends, the pursuit for their killer never ceased. Today’s arrest of their father, Yaser Said, brings us closer to ensuring justice is served on their behalf.”