Yaser Abdel Said, a Lewisville cab driver wanted in connection with brutal slayings of his two teenage daughters, is in custody in North Texas after 12 years on the run.
According to the FBI, Said, who was considered armed and dangerous and known to carry a weapon while driving his cab, was apprehended Wednesday in Justin without incident by SWAT agents from the FBI's Dallas Field Office.
The FBI said Said, now 63, is currently in federal custody and will soon be transferred to Dallas County. Though a $100,000 reward was being offered for his capture, FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said Wednesday night the apprehension of Said was done through "good old-fashioned, aggressive, initiative-based police work."
"We have had information throughout this investigation that he’s been in multiple places," DeSarno said.
Dr. Brasheer Ahmed with the Muslim Community Center in North Richland Hills provided grief counseling to the girls' mother Patricia after the murders.
"Just imagine coping with this kind of thing, the murder of two, young, beautiful children. It’s just unbearable. I saw her tears," he said.
Thursday Ahmed said the arrest is a relief to everyone involved, "and it is a lesson to anybody. If you commit a crime, you will pay for it."
Yaser Said had been on the run since 2008 after police said he took his daughters, 18-year-old Amina and 17-year-old Sarah, to get something to eat on New Year's Day. He put the girls in his taxicab and left their home in Lewisville for Irving where he allegedly shot them both as they sat in his cab.
The girls, who were both students at Lewisville High School, were reportedly shot multiple times.
According to a report from The Dallas Morning News, the girls alleged their father had sexually and physically abused them and had pulled a gun on Amina, threatening her life, after learning she had a boyfriend.
A film made about the murders, "The Price of Honor," alleges the girls were killed by their father as an "honor killing," a cultural practice where someone is killed after bringing shame on their family. The film furthers speculation the girls' father objected to his daughters living an "American lifestyle."
As for a motive, Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey said he's more concerned about seeing justice done now that Said is in custody.
"This man a brutally murdered and shot to death his two daughters in his taxi cab. What led him to do that at this point is irrelevant," said Spivey. "The fact that he murdered his two daughters, the fact that he’s been in the run for 12 years and the fact that tonight his flight from justice ended and justice for Amina and Sarah begins, that’s what is most important to us."
Ahmed said he specializes in counseling when conflicting matters of faith are involved.
"I must commend our police department. I must clarify that this conduct is against any Islamic principals," he said. "Under no way, this is honor killing. This is just killing. This is murder. And this is not acceptable."
The FBI said that Said was arrested Wednesday afternoon in the Denton County town of Justin and two relatives were arrested in Euless. The relatives were identified as Said's son, 32-year-old Islam Said, and his brother, 59-year-old Yassein Said. Both men are being charged with harboring a known fugitive.
DeSarno said while they are now focusing on the prosecution of Said, but they also hope to learn who else provided him aid and comfort over the last 12 years so that they, too, can face charges.
"We don't know how long he was in Justin, but we do know he's not there anymore," DeSarno said. “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."
“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," Spivey said in a prepared statement.
The day after the shooting a capital murder warrant was issued for his arrest and Said had been on the run ever since. DeSarno said they know Said was in multiple places, though he didn't elaborate on whether those locations were outside of Texas. Said was born in Egypt and investigators believed he may have been seeking shelter in communities with Egyptian ties, or in New York City, Canada or Egypt where he had known connections.
Patricia Said, Yaser's wife and the mother of the two girls told NBC 5 in 2009 that at first, she was mad at God for letting her daughters be killed, but that the anger was later redirected toward her husband whose whereabouts were unknown. She told our partners at The Dallas Morning News Wednesday, "All I can say is there’s going to be justice."
As homicide investigators intensified their search for Said, a federal Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution warrant was issued On Aug. 21, 2008. Six years later, with Said still on the run, he was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List on Dec. 4, 2014.
The search for Said was coordinated by the FBI’s Dallas Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of FBI special agents and officers from the Carrollton, Dallas, Texas Department of Public Safety, Garland, Grand Prairie, and Irving police departments.