A suspect has been taken into custody in the killing of a 33-year tech entrepreneur who was found dismembered inside his luxury Manhattan condo, law enforcement officials said Friday. The person in custody had worked as Fahim Saleh’s personal assistant, police sources told CBS New York.
His personal assistant – prime suspect
The personal assistant, Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, was expected to be charged in a criminal complaint with second degree murder and other crimes, the New York Times reported.
Saleh was found at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday inside his luxury seventh floor apartment on the Lower East Side.
A relative called police after going to check on Saleh and making the gruesome discovery. Responding officers discovered a clothed torso, bags containing a head and arms and an electric saw in the living room, police had said.
The New York Police Department confirmed a man had been found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The source identified him as tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh, a venture capitalist and CEO of Gokada, Nigeria’s motorcycle ride-hail company.
Saleh was last seen in surveillance footage Monday evening, getting into the elevator in his apartment building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the source said.
How was Mr. Saleh killed?
The killer, dressed in black and wearing a black mask, followed Mr. Saleh off an elevator and into his $2.25 million apartment, a police official said. Detectives believe that the person used a Taser to immobilize Mr. Saleh before killing him.
“A man dressed in all black — who, according to police, is suspected to be Saleh’s assailant — is seen in the video entering the elevator with him, according to the official. The elevator in Saleh’s building goes straight into the apartment units there”, the source said.
Once inside Saleh’s apartment, the alleged assailant started to attack him, the source said.
Investigators have also concluded that Mr. Saleh was killed on Monday, the day before his body was found, and that the killer used his employer’s credit card to pay for a car to a Home Depot, on West 23rd Street in Manhattan, to buy cleaning supplies to sanitize the crime scene, the official said.
The killer returned to Mr. Saleh’s apartment the next day to dismember the body and clean up the crime scene.
When the CEO’s sister went to check in on him, she discovered Saleh’s torso in an area next to the living room, the official said.
Who was Fahim Saleh?
Mr. Saleh, 33, was born to Bangladeshi parents in Saudi Arabia and grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
He began learning to code as a teenager, and after graduating from Bentley University in Massachusetts in 2009 he founded PrankDial, an app that allowed users to send prerecorded prank calls to their friends.
The app generated millions of dollars but drew more than 100 subpoenas, he said.
Mr. Saleh went on to create two motorcycle ride-sharing companies, one in Bangladesh called Pathao, and one in Nigeria called Gokada.
In 2019, Gokada reportedly raised $5.3 million in venture capital before its ride-sharing business was halted when Nigerian officials banned motorcycle taxis from many parts of the city of Lagos.
Police haven’t yet determined a motive behind the grisly attack, the source said. The NYPD is looking into how the attacker exited the apartment building.
Saleh’s family confirmed his death in a statement.
“The headlines talk about a crime we still cannot fathom,” the statement said. “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.”
“There are 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.”
Gokada called Saleh’s death “sudden and tragic” on Twitter.
“Fahim was a great leader, inspiration and positive light for all of us,” the company wrote. “Our hearts go out to his friends, family and all those feeling the pain and heartbreak we are currently experiencing, here at Gokada. All updates and changes will be communicated with you, as it unfolds. Forever in our hearts.”
CNN has reached out to the medical examiner’s office and NYPD for further comment.
As a high schooler, Saleh founded PrankDial.com, a website for prerecorded prank phone calls that, he wrote in 2018, had generated over $10 million since its start. He continued to found and sell sites throughout his teens and his time at Bentley University.
Most recently, he founded the venture capital firm Adventure Capital, which invested in ride-sharing start-ups in countries like Bangladesh and Colombia.
On Medium, where he blogged regularly, he called his founding of Gokada “one of the most out there things” he’d ever done. His limited knowledge of Nigeria’s transportation system at first turned off Nigerians he tried to recruit for his start-up.
The company raised over $5 million and hired over 800 drivers, but Gokada’s business hit a snag earlier this year when Lagos banned commercial motorcycles in the city. Saleh filmed an impassioned plea on behalf of his employees to lift the ban.
In the meantime, the company pivoted to delivery and was working toward launching a boat hailing service, he told CNN in February.
“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,” his family said.
Police have been looking into whether a business dispute may be behind this, but the motive for his murder still remains unclear, CBS New York reports.
Apartments in the 10-story building where Saleh’s remains were found sell for more than $2 million. The building was completed in 2017 as part of a wave of gentrification in the neighborhood.