Pakistani Kills Her Children in Texas

Dallas : A Pakistani-born mother accused of strangling her two young children told an emergency operator she killed them because they were autistic and she wanted “normal kids,” according to a tape released Wednesday.

Irving police released the recording after Saiqa Akhter was charged with one count of capital murder in the strangling of her five-year-old son, Zain Akhter, at the family’s apartment Monday night. Police spokesman David Tull said another capital murder charge is pending in the slaying of her two-year-old daughter, Faryaal Akhter, who died Tuesday night.

Police say the mother called emergency services after attacking the children. In the recording, the woman identifies herself as Saiqa Akhter and repeatedly tells the operator she killed her two children, describing how she first tried to poison them, then later strangled them with some type of wire. At one point during the recording, the woman hangs up and the dispatcher calls her back.

“I killed them. I killed both of them,” 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 she initially tried to poison the children with 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 can be heard running in the background and the dispatcher asks what the woman is 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 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 Wednesday. 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.

Saiqa 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 Wednesday in Richardson, another Dallas suburb. Faryaal’s funeral was scheduled for Thursday.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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