Ali told detective Juan Lopez that he hadn't been in touch with his father since midmorning, when they had gone to a Best Buy electronics store together. He insisted that he didn't want to get involved in whatever was going on.

But it was too late for that.

Ali already was involved.

Noor (left) with her friend, ASU student Sana Ameen.
courtesy of Sana Ameen
Noor (left) with her friend, ASU student Sana Ameen.
The Almaleki children, circa 2005 (Noor is standing second from left.)
The Almaleki children, circa 2005 (Noor is standing second from left.)

He told detective Chris Boughey that things at the house had been increasingly strained since Noor had returned from Iraq after leaving her arranged marriage.

To Ali's way of thinking, doing that had dishonored the Almaleki family.

Ali said Noor had been "most disrespectful" to their parents (to him, too) since her return and had continued to reject "traditional" Iraqi values.

The young man mentioned his own problems with his father, whom he described as a chronic gambler who liked to frequent Phoenix-area casinos.

Ali's mother, Seham, had been calling him over the past few hours, he said, saying that something had happened to Noor.

But Ali swore to detectives that he didn't know what had happened to his sister.

Detective Boughey returned to his car after the interview but didn't immediately leave. Ali came out a few minutes later and told Boughey he wanted to add some details to his account. This time he said he had spoken with his father at 2:30 p.m. (about half an hour after the assaults), but he couldn't recall the substance of the conversation.

Ali let on that he had seen television coverage and wanted to know where Noor was hospitalized. The detective said he couldn't tell him that right away.

Faleh Almaleki crossed the Mexican border into Nogales, Sonora, about the same time that Ali was being questioned in Glendale. Faleh soon parked his Jeep in a mall parking lot and checked into a hotel.

At 5:30 p.m. he made a call to his Phoenix cousin, Jamil.

The next day, October 21, Peoria police issued a warrant for Faleh Almaleki's arrest, alleging (at that point) two counts of aggravated assault.

That day a detective contacted Noor's mother by phone. Seham Almaleki said she was driving back from her job in California. She claimed all she knew was that there was a family problem of an unspecified nature.

Detective Bill Laing told Seham that her husband had intentionally slammed into Noor and Amal with his Jeep and fled.

"This woman is a liar. This woman is dirty. Her family is dirty," Seham told Laing, referring to Amal Khalaf. She said repeatedly that she hadn't communicated with her husband about the incident.

Laing told Seham that Noor's condition was grave. She replied that she wanted to see her daughter as soon as possible.

But the detective said he was concerned that Seham and others might pose further danger to Noor.

"I'm a danger?" Seham shouted.

Ironically, given the circumstances, she continued, "I'm a Muslim. We can't kill our daughter."

On October 22, two days after the assaults, a Glendale pharmacist told police that someone had phoned in a prescription for Faleh Almaleki.

That evening members of Noor's family (including her mother) and many of her friends held a candlelight vigil at the site of the assault. The media were there to capture the moment. The case was generating more buzz with each passing day.

Faleh Almaleki remained a fugitive as his daughter, comatose and unresponsive, clung to life.

Noor's photos, many of them lifted from her Facebook and MySpace pages, were displayed on sites across the Internet. They showed a beautiful young woman with long black hair and a wistful expression.

Noor rarely smiled in the photos, possibly because of embarrassment over braces she had worn for a while. But her friends say she was naturally upbeat, blessed with a sassy sense of humor that she employed even when times were tough.

"Noor, Noor, Noor. How can I describe Noor?" says one female pal who spent hours on end chatting with her at a coffee shop near Glendale Community College, where Noor was a part-time student.

"She was a trusting, loyal person who would calm everyone around her. She was an angel. Like a lot of us [Muslim women], she could be private, but she told me that her dad didn't understand her.

"We have to respect our parents, but she said he wanted her to be this perfect Arab woman, not questioning or demanding anything — 'Whatever you say, Father'— and that just wasn't her."

On October 24, Ali Almaleki spoke with a television reporter about his sister.

He said she had been "going out of her way being disrespectful [to their parents]."

Ali continued, "The boy [Marwan Alebadi] that is supposedly her boyfriend now — I don't like him."

He contrasted Iraq and the United States, saying, "Different cultures, different values. One thing to one culture does not make sense to another culture."

But he noted that seeing Noor at the hospital "just broke my heart. Nobody should have to go through that."

Ali said his father had called home the previous day to ask about Noor's condition, but "my mom yelled at him and hung up."

That day Peoria detectives learned that on October 22 a young man, possibly of Middle Eastern descent, and a woman wearing a veil had picked up a prescription for diabetes in Faleh's name.

« Previous Page
Next Page »