Beheaded CEO's sister reveals pain of identifying dismembered body – and how he was sewn together for funeral
THE SISTER of slain tech CEO Fahim Saleh has penned a heartbreaking letter recounting her family’s “piercing pain” after her brother’s gruesome decapitation – and how funeral directors sewed his head and limbs back on for the funeral.
Saleh, the CEO of the Nigerian ride-hailing motorcycle app Gokada, was found dead in his Lower East Side apartment in early July after a former assistant, 21-year-old Tyrese Haspil, allegedly decapitated him.
Sister Ruby Angela Saleh, who organized her brother’s funeral, wrote in the Medium post that the funeral home called three days before he was set to be buried to report that his limbs and head would not be able to be reattached.
“Upon receiving that news, I closed my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest like a Pharaoh, squeezing my phone against my body. My hands formed fists that I pushed into my heart with all my strength to contain my pain," she wrote.
Saleh said she requested funeral directors arrange his body parts in their proper places within the casket for the viewing.
Luckily, the man called back a day before the burial with good news – Saleh’s body was able to be reassembled.
“My family and I looked at our sweet boy’s face in the casket. He seemed to be sleeping peacefully. His body was covered in a white sheet, ice packs placed on his torso, his beautiful eyelashes long and lustrous against his skin,” Saleh wrote.
Saleh wrote that she first heard about her brother's death when her aunt called at 10:47 p.m. on July 14 while Saleh was in bed with her husband.
“My shoulders stiffened while the rest of my body went limp. Maybe one of my parents had COVID?” Saleh recounted.
She said that when her aunt gave the horrific news, the “words didn’t make sense.”
“I dropped the phone and crawled onto the wooden floor, touching its cold, hard surface with the palms of my hands,” Saleh said in the tear-jerking letter.
Saleh’s letter also revealed that his dismembered torso had been found by their cousin, just named as “A,” after the family hadn’t heard from him in a while.
“Someone had cut my brother’s body into pieces and tossed the pieces into a garbage bag, as if his life, his body, his existence had had no meaning or value,” Saleh wrote.
The heartbroken sister, who wrote that she “felt more like a mother to Fahim,” added that the family tried to keep as much of the tragic news from her parents as possible including the moments his lifeless body had to be identified with authorities.
The funeral home had called Saleh to tell her that because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fahim’s body would have to be identified by photo. Saleh, her sister and cousin gathered around their computer to open the email attachment.
"I felt nauseated," she wrote. “My father heard our cries and knocked on the door, asking what was going on. We quickly shut the computer, wiped our faces, and told him we were fine."
“We could never tell him what we had seen.”
Saleh said that since his death, their father, an immigrant from Bangladesh, spends his days sitting next to Fahim’s dog Laila while watching videos about his son while her mom spends the day crying.
In a new video, Saleh cries as she says: "it doesn't feel like life can ever be joyful again."
"My last ask is, if you’re someone’s sister, the next time you see your brother please hug him as tightly as you can for as long as you want because that’s all I want to do," Saleh says in the video.
"But I’ll never be able to hug Fahim again."
Saleh said her family will do everything in its power to keep Fahim's memory alive "and keep his visions going."
"My family and I are in such shock and debilitating pain."
“Thanksgiving, our family’s favorite holiday, will be especially difficult this year. Fahim always made the garlic mashed potatoes, while I made the stuffing and my sister made her famous mac and cheese,” Saleh recounted.
Saleh wrote that her brother’s brain “was a bottomless magic hat of ideas” that helped ease the family’s financial burden after their father was forced to retire from his job as a computer programmer.
“Having come from so little, Fahim had zero interest in being a rich entrepreneur who only hung out with other rich entrepreneurs. His heart was most open to those in need,” she wrote.
Haspil has since pleaded not guilty in Saleh’s murder – even after video emerged showing the personal assistant buying a saw that authorities believed was used to butcher him.
Court records show that Haspil is being defended by Legal Aid lawyers and is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 19.
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