ROCHESTER (AP) -- A former Rochester man now living in Bangladesh has been charged with murder in the decapitation deaths of his wife and nephew nearly two years ago, authorities announced Wednesday.
Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt identified the victims as Mary Zaman, 27, and her nephew, Mohammed Tahseen Taef, 3 1/2. In addition, authorities are still trying to locate the boy's mother, Sophia Tareq, 26, who has been missing since September 1999.
Second-degree murder charges have been filed against Iqbal Ahmed, 34, but Borchardt said Ahmed might never be arrested. He said the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Bangladesh, where Ahmed is living.
The bodies of Zaman and Taef were found by a road maintenance worker in a ditch near Rochester on Nov. 26, 1999. They had been stuffed into garbage bags and officials believe the two had been dead a couple weeks. Both were decapitated. Their heads have not been found.
Shortly before that, Zaman and her husband worked at the India Garden Restaurant in Rochester. They came to the United States in 1996 from Bangladesh on 11-week visitors' visas and moved to Rochester from New York City in 1998 after answering an employment ad.
Their employer told police he had not seen Zaman or Ahmed since September 1999, and that their last paychecks had not been picked up. Their apartment was vacated unannounced in late September 1999, and property was left behind.
The sheriff said the motive isn't known, but there was a family history of domestic abuse. He said Ahmed was arrested in New York in March 1998 for allegedly trying to murder Zaman, but Ahmed was not prosecuted because she would not cooperate with prosecutors.
Borchardt said authorities have known the identities of the victims and suspect for months, but kept that information confidential while attempting to get Ahmed returned to the United States. All attempts failed.
The sheriff said that in mid-September, FBI agents were told by the Bangladesh National Police that it was very unlikely that Ahmed would be arrested in Bangladesh or returned to America.
"I don't expect he will ever stand trial unless we stumble across him in the United States," Borchardt said.
On July 25, 2000, authorities charged Ahmed with two counts of second-degree murder. The complaint and arrest warrant were sealed pending completion of the investigation.
Borchardt credited good old-fashioned "gumshoe" detective work with cracking the case. For several months after the bodies were found, they still had not been identified.
The sheriff said it took a reminder from a local FBI agent -- that the answers to most homicides are found in your own back yard -- to get a break.
In spring 2000, deputies and investigators with a multi-agency task force reviewed all of the information they had gathered with the hope of finding a fresh lead. It paid off, Borchardt said, and the investigation snowballed, including finding evidence that Ahmed allegedly bought the possible murder weapon, an ax, and garbage bags from a local hardware store on Sept. 5, 1999.
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