The New York Times
Her Father Had a Theory About Her Killing. Then Came the Arrest.
NEW YORK — When Ola Salem’s physique was found in a park on Staten Island in October 2019, her buddies and relations have been left greedy for a proof.Salem, 25, was referred to as a devoted advocate on the home violence shelter for Muslim girls and youngsters the place she volunteered, and suspicion in native media centered on her husband, with whom the police stated she had a tumultuous relationship.Her father supplied one other concept: Kabary Salem advised The New York Times that his daughter had shared tales of being adopted by somebody on the freeway.Sign up for The Morning e-newsletter from the New York TimesBut authorities now say that tip was a lie meant to misdirect investigators, and it was Kabary Salem who killed his daughter, dragged her physique into Bloomingdale Park and lined it with branches.Kabary Salem, 52, appeared nearly in courtroom final week to face a seven-count indictment, with prices together with homicide, strangulation and concealment of a human corpse. He pleaded not responsible, courtroom data present. A lawyer for Kabary Salem couldn’t be reached for remark final week.Officials stated that regardless of Kabary Salem’s statements to reporters, he had been thought of a suspect in his daughter’s loss of life.”Throughout the course of this tragic case, we had never lost hope that the alleged killer would be arrested and charged,” Michael E. McMahon, the Staten Island district lawyer, stated in a press release. “We will continue to work tirelessly to hold this defendant accountable.”The prices adopted a yearlong investigation right into a killing that perplexed lots of those that knew Ola Salem. Her buddies stated that they have been rattled by the information of her father’s arrest.On Oct. 23, 2019, Ola Salem had been in Pennsylvania together with her father, a former skilled boxer who had competed on the Olympics, officers stated.Later that night or early the subsequent day, Kabary Salem strangled his daughter, in keeping with the indictment. Officials stated he then drove to Staten Island, dragged her physique to Bloomingdale Park within the Prince’s Bay neighborhood and lined her with branches and leaves. Afterward, they stated, he traveled again to Pennsylvania and later fled the nation.Key to the investigation was the invention this yr that Kabary Salem had rented a automobile from Avis on Oct. 22, a legislation enforcement official accustomed to the case stated.Previously, Kabary Salem had advised investigators that he had pushed his daughter house to New York of their household automobile. Investigators additionally discovered his daughter’s cellphone within the household automobile, the official stated, and Kabary Salem advised them she had forgotten it when he dropped her off.In actuality, the official stated, detectives found that Kabary Salem used the rental automobile to journey extensively on Staten Island, together with a short cease within the park close to the place his daughter’s physique was discovered. He was arrested in Kuwait in December with the help of the State Department and Interpol and quarantined earlier than being extradited again to New York.Prosecutors didn’t present a possible motive for the killing. But relationships between Ola Salem and shut relations appeared to have already been fraught for a while.At the time of her loss of life, Ola Salem’s household had an energetic order of safety in opposition to her, in keeping with the legislation enforcement official, who was not licensed to debate the case publicly.Kabary Salem, who had additionally labored as a driver, was a boxer on Egypt’s Olympic workforce in 1992 and 1996. He was referred to as “The Egyptian Magician” and held a combined status amongst followers and different fighters, gaining notoriety in 1999 when an opponent whom he had repeatedly head-butted throughout a match misplaced consciousness and died after mind surgical procedure. He retired from the game six years later.On a now-defunct Instagram account, Kabary Salem posted an image of himself and his daughter in March with the caption, “I miss you and love you rip my love.” After Ola Salem’s loss of life, Kabary Salem was quoted in a New York Times story saying that his daughter “always said somebody would follow her” when she was driving and that he hoped to obtain readability.”I want to know what happened to her, what is the reason for that — but no one tells me — I am just waiting,” he stated on the time.He is ready to seem again in courtroom on Feb. 5.Members of Ola Salem’s household declined to remark additional when reached Wednesday, saying they have been nonetheless processing the information.As an adolescent, Ola Salem, who grew up in Coney Island, was an energetic member of the Muslim American Society Youth Center in South Brooklyn. Friends stated she loved boxing like her father, led spiritual discussions at Kingsborough Community College on weekends and was recognized for her caring spirit and protecting disposition on the Asiyah Women’s Center, a home violence shelter the place she volunteered for night time shifts.Dania Darwish, the co-founder of the shelter and good friend for greater than a decade, stated her abdomen turns when she encounters reminders of Ola Salem’s loss of life. She added that she hopes “justice is served.”Darwish recalled the final days of Ramadan, when she and Ola Salem would dance and sing, change laughs and envision their lives sooner or later. As she was opening the shelter in Brooklyn, Darwish stated she reached out to Ola Salem for assist, realizing that her good friend had a “way of making people feel safe” and comfy.”People would be so traumatized coming to us, and she just had this relaxed spirit and calming presence,” Darwish stated. “She just made people immediately laugh at something even though they were having the worst days of their lives.”Ola Salem was recognized to be outspoken. When she was 17, she made headlines after a go to to Playland Park, an amusement park in Rye, New York, on a youth journey to mark the top of Ramadan. When Ola Salem was advised by workers she couldn’t be part of her youthful sister on a journey due to her hijab, she requested to talk with administration.The challenge escalated, and a small melee broke out. “I said, ‘It’s not my headgear. It’s my religion,'” Ola Salem advised the Times.For Darwish, the killing of her good friend — who fiercely defended different girls — stays a devastating loss.”There are women who were experiencing domestic violence and left situations where they could’ve gotten murdered. She was the reason they felt safe enough to leave,” she stated. “I wish our community did more to protect her in the way she protected them.”This article initially appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company