In a powerful and emotional Medium post, the sister of murdered technology entrepreneur Fahim Saleh recounts receiving the news that her brother was found dismembered in a New York City apartment last month.
"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," Ruby Angela Saleh wrote in the post. "'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.
Saleh is eight years older than her brother who died at the age of 33.
He was found dead at his New York City apartment with his head and limbs cut off from his body, allegedly at the hands of his executive assistant. Tyrese Haspil, 21, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, his attorneys said last month.
"While we were growing up, I felt more like a mother to Fahim than a sister. When he was a toddler too wild to finish a meal, I ran after him with spoonfuls of rice and chicken. I gave him baths, I changed his diapers, and I was petrified the first time I saw his nose bleed." Saleh wrote in the post, remembering her younger brother.
"Thirty years later, I was learning that Fahim's head and limbs had been discarded in a trash bag. 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 added.
Worse still, she wrote, the family was informed that due to coronavirus restrictions they would have to identify Fahim's body over the phone.
"His message popped up within minutes. I immediately felt nauseated. 'It's here," I said,' she wrote. "My sister, cousin, and I held hands and said a prayer before opening the attachment. And there it was: a photo of my beautiful brother, lifeless."
Entrepreneurial spirit evident at an early age
Saleh writes of how the family ended up in the United States moving from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia, eventually settling in Louisiana. Her family struggled financially but her brother's entrepreneurial spirit was on a display at an early age, she said.
"When Fahim was ten, he began buying candy from the local dollar store and selling it at a mark-up to his schoolmates during recess. Once word got out about his venture, the school principal shut it down," she writes.
Technology soon became Saleh's passion, he created and monetized his first website when he was 13-years-old, shocking the family by receiving a check from ad revenue from Google for $500.
"The site was 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. How is this boy making $500? That is so much money, he would later tell me he had thought." Ruby Saleh wrote.
Ruby Saleh says that as her brother sent money monthly to her parents when her father was forced to retire a few years ago and would always pick up family dinner tabs.
"Our father would reminisce during those dinner outings about our struggles in Louisiana, those years when the only restaurant experience we could afford was the $3.99 Saturday Meal deal at Domino's." Saleh writes in her post.
Coming from so little shaped Saleh as he started Gokada, a motorbike-hailing app.
"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. 'These drivers depend on me,' he would say when talking about Gokada, the motorbike-hailing app he developed in Nigeria."
Before her brother's funeral, Ruby Saleh says she was told his limbs would not be able to be reattached but she pleaded with funeral director to do so.
"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. Then I pleaded with the man to make sure all of my sweet brother's body parts were in their proper places in the casket." Saleh writes. "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."