Irving strangulation case: Mom wanted 'normal kids'

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA and Dallas Morning News

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 21 at 9:58 PM

DALLAS — In a 911 call made by an Irving mother accused in the strangling deaths of her two children Wednesday, the 30-year-old woman said her children were autistic and she wanted "normal kids."

Faryaal Akhter, 2, died about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Children's Medical Center, according to the Dallas County medical examiner's office. She remains on life support for the purpose of organ harvesting.

The girl's mother, 30-year-old Saiqa Akhter, was arraigned on a capital murder charge Wednesday morning in the death of her son Zain, who died Monday. She faces another charge now that her daughter has died.

The arraignment took place at around 10 a.m. inside the Irving City Jail. The judge decided to set no bond for Akhter.

Akhter called 911 about 5 p.m. Monday from the family's apartment in the 3300 block of Esters Road, according to a search warrant affidavit. She told the operator that she used a wire to choke her children until they turned blue.

"They are not doing anything," Akhter said in the 911 call. "They are just blue, and they are ... not taking any breaths and their hearts are not beating."

"Both are autistic," she said when the operator asked, "Why did you do this?"

"I don't want my kids to be like that," she said. "I want normal kids."

In the call, Akhter said she first tried to "give them bathroom cleaner."

"I put in their mouth," she said. "But, they don't drink it."

At one point during the call, water can be heard running and the operator asks Akhter what she is doing, in which she replies washing her hands.

"It smells too much because of bathroom cleaner," she said.

Police found the children in a bedroom of the family's second-floor apartment. Authorities also found a wire that they believe was used to kill the children.

Akhter's uncle said his niece had been depressed since moving into the new apartment and reported "strange things" inside the family's home.

"It looks like she had mental problems," said Wasimul Haque, who did not elaborate on what Saiqa Akhter said she had seen. "I don't understand why she did it."

Zain had autism and suffered from a severe speech impediment but had been improving, the uncle said. He said the boy had been in speech therapy. Faryaal also had health problems, although the details were unknown.

The children's father, Rashid Akhter, emigrated from Pakistan in the late 1990s. He married Saiqa several years later, and she then moved here. He works as a computer technician.

"He did whatever he can do with his wife to keep her happy all the time," Haque said.

The family was the subject of a Child Protective Services investigation last year after Zain was left alone at home while his parents rushed his sister to a hospital to be treated for breathing problems.

An agency spokeswoman said there were no signs of neglect or abuse.

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