The family of a tech tycoon have begged the NYPD to capture his ‘evil’ killer after the 33-year-old was dismembered by a hitman in a ninja outfit.
Fahim Saleh’s limbs and head were found shorn from his torso by his sister when she arrived at the entrepreneur’s $2.2 million apartment on East Houston in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Tuesday.
Detectives believe the professional killer may have fled the gruesome scene, leaving his electric saw behind, when Saleh’s sister arrived unexpectedly to check on him that afternoon.
‘The headlines talk about a crime we still cannot fathom,’ the family said in its statement. ‘No words or actions to provide any of us comfort except the capture of the person who exhibited nothing short of evil upon our loved one.’
Fahim Saleh, far left, was born into a middle-class Bengali family in Saudi Arabia. He is pictured here along with his two sisters and his parents. The family eventually settled in New York state
Saleh posted an old photograph of him with his mother on Mother’s Day in 2013, writing: ‘Thanks for giving me life ammu and a good one at that!’
NYPD officers speak at crime scene at 265 Houston Street, where Fahim Saleh, Co-founder/CEO of Gokada, was found dead at the apartment building in New York City, New York, U.S., July 15, 2020
It continued: ‘We need and urge the NYPD and other members of law enforcement to work diligently to get to the bottom of this horrific crime and bring justice for Fahim…
‘Fahim is more than what you are reading. 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.’
Among Saleh’s businesses was a motorbike taxi hailing in Nigeria which had recently encountered financial hardhship, and he had also invested in ride-sharing companies in Colombia.
At the time of his death, he was being sued by a former prison guard turned criminal who was jailed for using his app PrankDial to secretly record and listen to employees’ phone calls.
He founded the app in 2015.
The app let Kirk Eady, the former deputy director of Hudson County Correctional Facility, place a call between two employees without them knowing he was behind it, then listen to whatever they said.
He listened to their complaints about him and about their jobs then retaliated against them in the workplace, according to prosecutors.
He was jailed for 15 months and in 2017, sued Saleh for fraud, claiming the app made him think what he was doing was legal.
Saleh’s sister arrived at his apartment on East Houston in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 3.30pm on Tuesday and found her brother’s remains in plastic bags.
His limbs had been severed and his head had been cut off from his torso.
Fahim Saleh is pictured with his two sisters, Rif Saleh (center) and Ruby Bashir (right). It is not known which of them made the grisly discovery
Detectives outside the building on Wednesday. Police are yet to track down or arrest the killer
All of the apartments in the building have private elevator access. The killer followed Saleh out of his after riding up with him, cops said. Above, a floor plan of his apartment which shows the staircase that the killer likely escaped out of
Saleh’s apartment is one of just seven in the exclusive Lower East Side Building. Above, one of the marketing images used to promote the sale. It’s unclear if this is his apartment
Police say it was a professional job by a trained killer who rode with him up in the elevator then got out when it opened directly onto Saleh’s apartment.
The killer, dressed in a mask, gloves and hat and wearing what police sources described as a ‘ninja outfit’, had a suitcase with him – presumably to remove his remains when he’d finished the job.
But when Saleh’s sister showed up unexpectedly, sources told NBC it appears the killer abandoned the grisly scene, leaving his electronic saw behind.
It was still plugged in when she arrived. He got out through a service exit and remains on the run.
Other sources told The New York Post the sister likely pressed the buzzer for his apartment, which gave the killer warning, and that he fled down the stairs as she made her way up in the elevator when there was no answer on the buzzer.
Saleh would regularly post pictures on social media with him together with his sisters, at least one of whom lived in New York
Police sources say the killing was financially motivated but no other detail has emerged.
According to an unnamed friend, neighbors heard screaming and loud noises but no one called 911.
KickBack Apps owns four apps, including Prank Dial, which provides pre-recorded prank calls.
Motorbike taxi hailing app in Lagos which commuters used to get around the busy traffic.
The business got a $5.3million injection from Silicon Valley last year and recently had to pivot operations to becoming a courier service.
Based in Bangladesh, started as a ride-sharing app but now lets people buy food delivery and clothes.
Valued at $100million
Venture Capital firm focused on developing countries.
Among them was Picap, Colombia’s first ride-sharing app, which is valued at $15million.
Police believe the have surveillance footage of the suspect entering the building on Monday and then using the elevator, getting in with Saleh when he arrived home.
‘He was dressed like a ninja, full out, so you can’t even see his face.
‘He clearly knew what he was doing.
‘We think his intent was to get rid of the body parts and go back and clean it up and make it look like nothing happened.
‘He left before he finished the job,’ the source told The New York Daily News.
Sources told the New York Post that as the pair rode up to the seventh floor apartment together, Saleh appeared puzzled.No sooner had he stepped out of the elevator – which opened directly into his home – the attack began.
He fell to the floor after either likely being shot or stunned, the footage reportedly shows.
Police found that Saleh’s legs below the knees and his arms had been removed, with the missing body parts placed into bags.
Surprisingly, there was very little blood.
The New York Times reported that some effort had been made to clear up evidence.
Cops are now trying to work out whether the arrival of the victim’s sister interrupted the dismembering of Saleh’s body.
Detectives are also looking to see if the killer was able to escape through another exit.
‘We have a torso, a head that’s been removed, arms, and legs. Everything is still on the scene. We don’t have a motive,’ NYPD spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said.
Saleh, who was born in Saudi Arabia but grew up in New York in a Bengali family, bought his luxury pad for $2.25 million last year and was clearly proud of his purchase – regularly posting pictures and video on his Instagram.
Friends of Saleh have paid tribute to him saying ‘He was extremely smart, ambitious, very kind. Always smiling’
His LinkedIn profile reveals the former website developer was the CEO of a motorbike hailing company in Lagos, Nigeria.
The firm, Gokada, recently faced severe setbacks after being banned earlier this year by the Nigerian government.
It was forced to lay off staff and pivot from being a ride-sharing service to a delivery courier.
The ban came at a difficult moment for Gokada which had just raised $5.3 million in funding from Rise Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, in May 2019.
After the ban was enacted, the firm stopped bringing in money and around 800 bikers working for Gorkada were also immediately laid off.
Saleh was working on new ideas and a new direction for the firm.
On June 2, he tweeted: ‘Have a very good feeling about 2020.’
Later Tuesday, police could be seen in the condo’s lobby at 265 East Houston Street and speaking with a woman who was in tears and who was believed to be one of Saleh’s sisters who had found the body.
‘She was really upset. Crying. Shaking,’ neighbor Danny Faust said to The Post. ‘She was just sitting there but you can tell her legs were shaking. She’s nervous. She was crying like, you know, wiping her eyes.’
The apartment building where Saleh lived. His dismembered body was found by his sister on Tuesday at 3.30pm
A crowd of people are seen gathered outside the apartment building in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan
A woman could be seen sitting in the lobby of the building shortly after the police arrived at the scene to investigate
‘She was screaming when she first came down,’ Faust said.
‘Dead body? Okay. But when you hear chopped up and dismembered?
‘That’s it. That’s a sick type of mind for somebody to do that,’ he added.
Friends said Fahim Saleh (left and right) was a self-made millionaire who had a passion for gadgets and video games. He also enjoyed bringing tech companies into underdeveloped nations including Nigeria and Indonesia. Pictured (right), his motorcycle company in Nigeria
On Tuesday afternoon friends began showing up to his building. A couple said they believe that Saleh must have been targeted.
‘He was extremely smart, ambitious, very kind. Always smiling,’ one friend told the Daily News.
The friends said he was a self-made millionaire who had a passion for gadgets and video games.
He also enjoyed bringing tech companies into underdeveloped nations including Nigeria and Indonesia.
He never said he was scared,’ another friend recalled. ‘[He was] always very happy-go-lucky.’
On Tuesday night, tributes were also being made online to Saleh.
‘Rest in peace Fahim Saleh. Deepest condolences for his family and friends. The world is becoming inhumane day by day,’ wrote Ashiq Rahman, a software engineer living in Toronto.
Friends said he was like the ‘Elon Musk of the developing world’ because he was so committed to investing in countries to improve them.
He started his businesses from his parent’s house in Hopewell Junction, upstate New York.