DALLAS: A Pakistani-born woman told a 911 operator that she killed her two young children because they were autistic and she wanted “normal kids”, according to the recorded call released on Wednesday.
In the recording, the woman, who identified herself as Saiqa Akhter, repeatedly told the operator she killed her two children. Irving police released recordings of the 911 call after Saiqa Akhter was charged with capital murder in the death of her five-year-old son, Zain Akhter. Police said the children were attacked at the family’s apartment Monday night.
Another capital murder charge is pending for the slaying of her two-year-old daughter, Faryaal Akhter, who died Tuesday night, police spokesman David Tull said.
According to reports, Akhter hung up during her call to 911, and the dispatcher called her back.”I killed both of them. I told you,” she told the operator. Later, she explained that both children were lying motionless on the bed in the master bedroom.
“They are not doing anything. They are just blue and they are not taking any breaths and... their heart is not beating,” she said.
She told the operator that she initially tried to poison the children with a bathroom cleaner but they refused to drink it. When that didn’t work, “I used a wire on their necks,” she said.
When the operator asked the woman why she attacked her children, she said, “They’re both not normal, not normal. They’re autistic. Both are autistic.” Pressed further, she said, “I don’t want my children to be like that. I want normal kids.”
Later, the dispatcher asked the woman what she was feeling. “Nothing,” she responded.
At one point, water could be heard running in the background and the dispatcher asked what the woman what she was doing. She told the operator she was trying to wash the smell of cleaner off of her hands. The dispatcher then told the woman to go sit on a couch in the living room and wait for the police.
At the end of the recording, police can be heard arriving at the home.
Akhter has requested a court-appointed attorney but one hasn’t been assigned to her case yet, an Irving jail official said.
If convicted of capital murder, Akhter could face the death penalty, though prosecutors have not said if they will seek that punishment. Otherwise, she could face life in prison without parole.
Akhter’s uncle, Wasimul Haque, told The Dallas Morning News that his niece had been depressed since moving into a new apartment in Irving. Haque said Zain had autism and a severe speech impediment but had been improving and was in speech therapy.
The children’s father, Rashid Akhter, emigrated from Pakistan in the late 1990s, the newspaper reported. He married Saiqa, who also is from Pakistan, several years later, it said.
Zain was buried on Wednesday in Richardson, another Dallas suburb. Faryaal’s funeral was scheduled for Thursday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.
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