An update on this previous post ignored by the mainstream media, Oregon: Saudi who ran over, killed 15-year old girl skips bail week before trial.
A black SUV pulled up to Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah’s home in Southeast Portland two weeks before his June 2017 trial.
Noorah, a Saudi national charged the year before in the fatal hit-and-run of a teenage girl crossing Hawthorne Boulevard, had a bag packed that Saturday afternoon.
The private car drove the 21-year-old Portland Community College student to a sand-and-gravel yard two miles away.
That’s where Noorah sliced off the tracking monitor he had worn around his ankle for months, according to interviews with federal authorities. He then discarded it at the scene before vanishing, leaving a victim’s family crushed and prosecutors furious and flummoxed.
Law enforcement officials now say they believe Noorah got an illicit passport and boarded a plane — likely a private carrier — to flee the country.
Despite unknowns in the ongoing investigation, officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service are all but certain who helped orchestrate the remarkable escape: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials learned only recently from the Saudi government that Noorah arrived back home 18 months ago.
“We’re doing everything we can to get him back,” said Eric Wahlstrom, a supervisory deputy U.S. marshal in Oregon.
Prosecutors still hope to try Noorah in the death of 15-year-old Fallon Smart.
But the efforts might not amount to much.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have no extradition treaty, which means an arrest of Noorah inside the kingdom is unlikely. Nor have federal officers confirmed the young man’s precise whereabouts within the Middle East nation.
The new details emerged amid mounting scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s conduct abroad following the kingdom’s role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey this fall. Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to Turkish officials.
“It begs the question: Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice system?” said Chris Larsen, a lawyer for Smart’s mother, Fawn Lengvenis. “It’s reprehensible.”
The Saudi government has routinely worked to help its citizens facing criminal charges in the U.S., just as the United States helps its own citizens abroad. Some helped by the Saudis later attempted or succeeded in fleeing the country.
Its consulate posted a $100,000 bail for a Saudi national accused of rape in Utah in 2015. Police later arrested the suspect, Monsour Alshammari, at the U.S.-Mexico border and he was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to the charge, according to court records and media reports.
Federal court records in Oregon show the Saudi government also bailed out Ali Hussain Alhamoud from the Lincoln County Jail in 2012 after he was indicted on multiple sex crime charges, including first-degree rape.
Alhamoud, who records show was living in Corvallis at the time, managed to board a plane in Portland on the same day he was released and returned to Saudi Arabia, according to a criminal complaint. His case, previously unreported, remains open in Lincoln County.
Now 25, Alhamoud is still at large. He’s listed as a wanted suspect by the international police organization Interpol.
Four years later, in August 2016, Noorah was speeding west along Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland police said.
Smart was trying to meet up with her mother and began to cross the street at 43rd Avenue.
Noorah’s gold Lexus illegally swerved around traffic that had stopped for the girl and struck her at 55 to 60 mph, police said.
Smart, weeks shy of her 16th birthday and the start of her sophomore year at Franklin High School, died at the scene.
Witnesses at the time told police that the driver didn’t stop and continued speeding down the road. Noorah later returned to the crash scene and was arrested, police said.
Authorities booked him into the Multnomah County jail on charges of manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and reckless driving.
He had 17 parking violations as well as a suspended license for driving uninsured at the time of his arrest, according to court documents.
Records show Noorah had been a student in Portland since 2014 and received an $1,850-a-month stipend from the Saudi government for living expenses.
Noorah was raised by a single mother, a kindergarten teacher, and his grandmother in the Saudi city of Jeddah, said Terri Stanford, who hosted Noorah in her home during his time in Portland. He had earned a scholarship to come and study in the U.S., she said.
A grand jury later indicted Noorah, elevating the charge against him to first-degree manslaughter, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
Upon the urging of Multnomah County prosecutor Shawn Overstreet, Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht raised the young man’s bail to $1 million from $280,000, court documents show.
“We always felt this guy was a huge flight risk,” Overstreet said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.
For most defendants, especially someone with limited financial resources, a seven-figure bail means they remain behind bars pending trial. In Oregon, defendants must post 10 percent of the set bail for release.
Noorah, as it turned out, would receive some unexpected help.
Soon after his arrest, the Saudi consulate retained private defense attorneys to work on his case, according to court records and prosecutors.
The consulate later cut Noorah a check for $100,000, enough to secure his release from jail, records show.
Because the money was given directly to Noorah, he would be liable for the full $1 million should he flee, not the Saudi government.
He posted his own bail on Sept. 11, 2016, jail records show.
The conditions of his release required Noorah to turn over his Saudi passport and driver’s license to Homeland Security and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle, prosecutors said.
He was placed under supervision by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, records show. He returned to Stanford’s Southeast Portland home.
Though largely under house arrest, Noorah was allowed to resume his studies at Portland Community College while his case slowly proceeded in court.
He received permission from his release supervisor, Deputy Kari Kolberg, to study at the community college’s Southeast 82nd Avenue campus on Saturday, June 10.
That afternoon, according to investigators, a GMC Yukon XL arrived outside Noorah’s home on Southeast Yamhill Street and picked him up.
GPS data from Noorah’s monitor bracelet shows he traveled east along Southeast Division Street until the SUV arrived at Portland Sand & Gravel on 106th Avenue, prosecutors said.
He then cut the monitor from his ankle and threw it outside the company’s sprawling, multi-acre property, according to investigators.
Kolberg, Noorah’s release supervisor, didn’t learn of his disappearance until the next night when she returned home from a weekend trip that took her outside cellphone range, the District Attorney’s Office said. Kolberg, who declined an interview for this story, contacted Overstreet immediately.
Overstreet’s first thought was that Noorah had killed himself, he said. He and a police officer assigned to the Marshals Service used a cadaver dog to search the sand-and-gravel property and an adjacent city park, he said.
They discovered the ankle monitor on the ground and obtained surveillance video from a nearby business that showed the GMC Yukon pull out of Portland Sand & Gravel, authorities said. The time on the video corresponded to the time on the GPS log that indicated Noorah had removed his monitor.
Officers searching his home later found a bag packed with clothes and electronic devices, including a computer and cellphone, that Noorah apparently left behind in the haste of his departure.
“He was gone. He was a ghost for a while,” Overstreet said.
Federal officials with the Marshals Service and Homeland Security launched a full-scale investigation, Wahlstrom, the deputy marshal, said.
It included extensive searches of domestic and international flights throughout the U.S. and Canada, which turned up no leads on Noorah under his name or an assumed identity, according to Wahlstrom. He wouldn’t explain further how federal agents tried to track Noorah.
This past July, more than 13 months after Noorah first disappeared, the Saudi government contacted Homeland Security, the Marshals Service said. It informed the agency that he arrived back in the kingdom on June 17, 2017.
That leaves seven days after Noorah cut off his monitor to the date of his return to his country that remain unaccounted for, Wahlstrom said. The Saudi government hasn’t answered U.S. questions about how Noorah made it back to the kingdom or provided additional details about him.
Federal investigators at this time believe the Saudis issued Noorah a new passport, probably under a different name, to make the long journey home, according to the marshals. He would not have been able to clear customs or cross international borders without one, Wahlstrom said.
Based on their unsuccessful canvass of airports and commercial flights, federal law enforcement officials also believe Noorah most likely traveled on a private carrier, which have less rigorous oversight, according to Wahlstrom.
The Saudi embassy in Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“It’s still absolutely crazy that this could happen,” Overstreet said. “I can’t even imagine what it must feel like for the family who lost their 15-year-old daughter.”
The teen’s mother declined to be interviewed but the family’s lawyer, Larsen, had an answer.
“It’s trauma on top of trauma,” he said.
Remember, Hussein Obama brought in huge numbers of Saudi students during his reign of terror. Number of Saudi Students Permitted in U.S. Doubles since 2010
Many of them never leave the U.S. 58,000 Foreign Students Overstayed Visas Last Year & ICE Can’t Find Them
Is Trump doing anything to curb this immigration problem and deport these illegals?