American Girls

Crossing between American and Egyptian cultures, he Said girls made one deadly misstep: They fell in love

Then he turned the gun on Sarah, in the back seat. The girl fought as her father pumped nine bullets into her body. If he fired the shots at the park, Yaser drove fewer than three miles, parked in front of the Omni and left his dead daughters for others to find.

Then, wearing a jacket and black turtleneck and carrying his Egyptian passport, he vanished into the cold night air.

The news of his nieces' deaths hit the Said family hard, Ahmed says. "If we had known, we could have intervened." Yaser's mother wondered out loud why Yaser hadn't committed suicide instead.

Islam, the oldest, had to watch over his sisters at all times.
Islam, the oldest, had to watch over his sisters at all times.

Ahmed scoffs at the idea the girls were killed to preserve the "Said family honor."

"That is a tribal, backward thing," he says, not a part of his culture or religion. "They were stars. Special. They were going to be doctors."

The deaths of Amina and Sarah triggered escalation in the hostility between the two sides of the family. At a Christian funeral before the Muslim ceremony, Islam demanded that the two boyfriends be prohibited from attending the service.

Though a source with the American Embassy in Cairo says Yaser has not entered Egypt on his own passport, he's likely there, perhaps living in Amina's house.

"He is free [in Egypt]," Weiss says. "There is only one way to cleanse the shame—the woman's blood. They may whisper about his crime, but he's done his duty."

In May, the "aunts," Gartrell, Boucher and Owens, ramped up an effort to keep the search for Yaser in the public eye, raising the reward for his capture to $21,125. Since the funerals, Tissie has said little about the murders except that "Yaser is a good man."

A war between the two sides erupted on a blog called "scarlet crusader," escalating in threats, racial epithets and obscenities.

Two days after the murders, Boucher drove her niece and Islam to the house on Lakeland Drive. After movement was seen inside, a zealous Lewisville SWAT team had broken most of the windows with tear gas canisters and ruined the house.

Tissie found a box of legal papers in English and Arabic. "This is all yours now," Tissie told Islam. Amina's "chalet," her computer, everything that belonged to the girls went to the oldest son, including the deed to the house on Lakeland Drive.

The house has been completely remodeled and the mortgage paid through July 1. The money came from donations by the Islamic Center, Kroger and people at the Lewisville High School.

The house sits empty, awaiting Islam and a bride from Egypt.

Additional research for this story was provided by Carrie Huskinson.

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