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The sister of a slain tech exec—whose body was found dismembered in his luxury NYC townhome—penned an emotional tribute to her “baby brother,” describing the sheer agony her family felt after learning of his savage murder.
Ruby Saleh got the news that her younger brother Fahim Saleh—eight years her junior—had been found dead and dismembered in his apartment on the night of July 14 just as she was drifting off to bed, according to a blog post she wrote on Medium.
“I dropped the phone and crawled onto the wooden floor, touching its cold, hard surface with the palms of my hands. I shook my head. ‘No, no,’ I said, my hair falling over my face. ‘What are they saying?’ I looked up at my husband. He was already crying, as if he had accepted these words about my brother as truth. His crying didn’t make sense to me because this news couldn’t possibly be real,” she wrote.
Fahim Saleh’s torso had been discovered by his cousin who had gone to the townhome after she was worried that she had not heard from him in a while. The 33-year-old’s head and limbs had been removed and an electric saw lay nearby.
Authorities later arrested his personal assistant, Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, who has been charged with second-degree murder; authorities allege he had stolen approximately $90,000 from Saleh, according to The New York Times.
Haspil has pleaded not guilty, The Poughkeepsie Journal reports.
Ruby said she had always felt “more like a mother” to her younger brother than a sister.
“When he was a toddler too wild to finish a meal, I ran after him with spoonfuls of rice and chicken,” she wrote. “I gave him baths, I changed his diapers, and I was petrified the first time I saw his nose bleed.”
Learning the gruesome details of her brother’s final moments had been excruciating.
“Thirty years later, I was learning that Fahim’s head and limbs had been discarded in a trash bag,” she wrote. “Someone had cut my brother’s body into pieces and tossed the pieces into a garage bag, as if his life, his body, his existence had had no meaning or value.”
Ruby, her sister and cousin had to identify the remains through a digital photo—due to restrictions put in place by COVID-19. They held hands, huddled together as they opened the attachment together.
“My sister howled. ‘No, no, no, it’s real now, it’s real now,’ she kept repeating,” Ruby wrote. “I held her tight. We wanted to ask that photo, ask our beloved brother, ‘How did this happen to you, baby?’”
The family laid Fahim to rest just days later on July 19 after she “pleaded” with the employee at the funeral home to re-attach her brother’s severed body parts.
“The day before the funeral, the man called me again. ‘It wasn’t easy, but we were able to put him back together,’ he said,” she wrote.
Fahim’s parents were from Bangladesh and moved the family to Saudi Arabia after his father had gotten a computer science degree. The family later relocated to the United States, settling in Louisiana, after becoming worried about Ruby's education. Fahim—the middle child—had been 4 when the family moved.
“We settled in Louisiana, where our father pursued a PhD in Computer Science while our mother worked at a local laundromat,” Ruby wrote. “Our family of five lived on my father’s small stipend, the minimum wage my mother earned folding other people’s clothes, and some loans from relatives.”
Her father was always worried about being able to provide for his family and as he grew, Fahim had wished “to ease his burden” by finding success himself.
At 10 years old, the future entrepreneur began buying candy from the dollar store and selling it at recess at a marked-up price. The school principal ultimately shut the venture down, but Fahim just pivoted to selling beaded necklaces and bracelets in his neighborhood instead.
By the age of 13, after his family had moved to Rochester, New York, he had created his first monetized website called “Monkeydoo: jokes, pranks, fake poop, fart spray and more for teenagers.”
“Our father worried when the first $500 check arrived in the mail from Google, addressed to Fahim Saleh,” she wrote. “’How is this boy making $500? That is so much money,’ he would later tell me he had thought.”
Fahim’s innovative spirit would only grow from there, starting a business called Wizteen with his “longest running business partner”; they made avatars for AOL AIM and other private messaging services, earning enough to put Fahim through Bentley University.
After graduating, Ruby said her brother started his next venture, PrankDial, an app designed to help people make prank calls.
Her brother would often get so immersed in his work he’d forget to eat and her father took it upon himself to make sure his son stayed fed by delivering what the family referred to as a “surprise sandwich” made with anything he could find in the refrigerator.
At the time of his death, Fahim was CEO of Godaka, a motorbike-hailing company he founded in Nigeria.
“Fahim’s brain was a bottomless magic hat of ideas big and small, wacky and serious, local and global,” she wrote. “You never knew what he was going to pull out next, but he got to work on every idea immediately.”
As he found success, he never forgot his family and often picked up the tab at family meals, she said. After his father was forced to retire, Fahim sent a monthly check to his parents to make sure they never had to worry about finances.
The 33-year-old’s family surrounded him as he was laid to rest in July, cutting short a life filled with promise.
“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. His hair was matted down, not spiked like usual, its blond tips glistening under the hot sun. Our father approached the casket and began to speak to Fahim in the affectionate voice with which he often addressed him. ‘Fahim Saleh, didn’t I tell you not to dye your hair? Didn’t I tell you?’ he said before he began to sob,” she wrote.
Fahim’s mother kept repeating “Ok, you sleep now, baby boy. You get some rest. You sleep now,” she wrote.
In the tech exec’s absence, Ruby wrote that her family would now have to learn to adjust to live without Fahim’s vibrant personality.
Her father now spends his days taking care of Fahim’s dog Laila, while her mother still cries for the son she lost.
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