The former personal assistant of Fahim Saleh has been arrested in the gruesome slaying of the Bangladeshi American entrepreneur. News reports, quoting authorities investigating the case, say Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, attacked Saleh at his luxury apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, on July 13.
In a case of macabre slaying, Saleh’s legs below the knees and his arms had been removed and placed in trash bags. Saleh’s body was discovered by his cousin, and not his sister, as earlier news reports suggested. His torso was found in a room next to the living room. A report from the New York City medical examiner’s office revealed Saleh died from multiple stab wounds to his neck and torso.
Saleh, 33, was a venture capitalist and co-founder and CEO of Gokada, a Laos, Nigeria-based motorcycle ride-hail company.
Haspil, 21, had worked for Saleh since he was 16. Quoting officials familiar with the investigation, news reports said the motive for the murder could’ve come from Haspil’s recent firing by Saleh, after discovering that he has stolen roughly $90,000 from him.
However, news reports said Saleh hadn’t reported the theft, and instead, had set up a repayment plan for Haspil to return the amount stolen. As Saleh’s assistant, Haspil handled his finances and personal matters.
Saleh was last seen on July 13 afternoon on surveillance cameras getting into the elevator with the suspect, who was reportedly dressed in a black three-piece suit, wearing a black mask and latex gloves, and carrying a duffel bag. He is believed to have followed Saleh to his apartment and immobilized him with a taser, before stabbing him to death.
The New York Times reported that a security video taken from inside the elevator showed that “the killer later used a portable vacuum cleaner, perhaps in an effort to remove the particles left behind when the Taser was fired, the officials said. He also used the vacuum inside the apartment.”
Although initial news reports said the murder looked “professional,” an investigator told the New York Times that Haspil committed “several rookie mistakes.” The investor said Haspil bought the taser online with his own credit card, and also signed the packet when it arrived in June. These “mistakes” led police to Haspil, the investigator told the Times.
In a statement released on July 15, the Saleh family said that the gruesome killing was so shocking it was unfathomable. “Fahim is more than what you are reading,” the family said. “He is so much more. His brilliant and innovative mind took everyone who was a part of his world on a journey and he made sure never to leave anyone behind.”
Saleh was born in July 1986 in Saudi Arabia. After a few years in the Middle East, his family settled in Dutchess County in Upstate New York. Although Saleh lists Poughkeepsie as his hometown on his Facebook page, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports that Saleh lived in Hopewell Junction and graduated in 2005 from John Jay High School. There is not much information available on his family, but a report in The Sun identifies his sisters as Rif Saleh and Ruby Bashir. According to Rif Saleh’s Linkedin profile, she is a director at the marketing talent agency ES Creative, while it is unclear what Bashir does.
His Instagram page also shows photos and videos of his New York apartment, which he reportedly purchased for $2.25 million last year.