Jill Abplanalp hopes a documentary on the slayings of her two nieces in 2008 will lead to the capture of their father who has been on the run from federal and local authorities for six years.
Capital murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrants have been issued for Yaser Abdel Said, 57.
Abplanalp wants justice for her nieces, Amina, 18, and Sarah Said, 17, who were found shot to death in a taxi in the parking lot of an Irving hotel.
“It’s another way to keep this case going,” Abplanalp said in a recent telephone interview.
The almost two-hour documentary, directed by Neena Nejad and Xoel Pamos, claims that it will reveal new details and evidence on the case, including a secret plan by Amina Said to protect her boyfriend from her father.
“Amina left behind a treasure trove of secrets critical to convicting the father of her murder that no one had explored until we started investigating,” Pamos said in a news release. “In her own words, through letters, emails and diary entries, she answered almost every question we had about this disturbing case.”
Pamos said the project took more than three years to complete and the crew shot more than 4,000 hours.
“It took so long to get the details,” Pamos said in a telephone interview. “Personally, it was difficult to keep my own perspective out of the film.”
The film is intended to renew interest in the case and raise awareness about the issue of “honor violence” in the United States, according to the news release.
According to the AHA Foundation, a New York-based organization that focuses on protecting women and girls, “honor violence is a form of violence against women committed with the motive of protecting or regaining the honor of the perpetrator, family, or community. Victims of honor violence are targeted because their actual or perceived behavior is deemed to be shameful or to violate cultural or religious norms.”
The killings of the Said sisters drew national attention when some family members claimed that the girls were victims of an “honor killing” because they had brought shame to the family.
Authorities have declined to comment on a motive.
The documentary also concludes that Said did not flee to Egypt, but that he “is hiding in plain sight in the U.S.,” Nejad said.
Said’s last confirmed sighting was in Irving in 2008, according to FBI officials.
‘My dad shot me’
The girls were well-liked and made good grades at Lewisville High School, acquaintances said. Their father was strict and rarely let them spend time with friends. When Sarah, 17, met a boy at her job, she told a friend that her father would kill her if he found out.
Authorities have said a domestic dispute may have led to the shooting, but investigators provided no details about the dispute or who might have been involved.
Authorities believe that Said took his daughters for a ride in his taxi on Jan. 1, 2008, under the guise of taking them to get something to eat. He pulled into the parking lot of the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas and shot his two daughters, police have said.
Sarah managed to make a 911 cellphone call, alerting Irving police to the shootings, but she was unable to tell police her location.
During the call, she can be heard repeatedly telling the operator that she was dying.
“Help!” Sarah said in the call. “My dad shot me.”
Officers were dispatched to the area of O’Connor Boulevard and Riverside Drive, but they couldn’t find the girls.
An hour later, a witness reported seeing a suspicious taxi in the Omni parking lot in the 200 block of E. Las Colinas Boulevard.
Police found Amina’s body hunched over in the passenger seat; Sarah was found in the back seat. Both had been shot multiple times.
FBI officials described Said as 6 feet 2 inches tall and about 180 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair, but he may have shaved his head.
He has frequented restaurants such as Denny’s and IHOP, and smokes Marlboro Light 100 cigarettes, authorities said.
FBI agents consider Said armed and dangerous.
In December, the FBI increased to $20,000 the reward for the former Lewisville father in hopes that agents could get information on Said, who has ties to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, New York City, Canada and Egypt. Oak Farms Dairy has offered an additional $10,000 reward for Said’s arrest.
Final days of the Said sisters
7:30 p.m.: The teens and their mother leave for a convenience store.
2:17 a.m.: Lewisville police take statements from Yaser Said and son Islam Said at their home.
3:56 a.m. Lewisville police go to the convenience store, where no one remembers seeing the three women.
Lewisville officers call Yaser Said, tell him his wife and daughters left him and close their missing-persons case, but they return that same day.
8:30 p.m. Someone calls police after discovering the teens’ bodies inside a taxi in Irving.
Source: Star-Telegram archives