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The Dhanak murders

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 31, 2007 12:00 AM

There’s been a lot of buzz from my southern California readers about a terrible murder case in Orange County. On May 22, Jayprakash Dhanak and his 20-year-old daughter Karishma Dhanak were killed and their home was set on fire. Their beaten, charred bodies were found on a trail in a nearby park [clarification: they were found in an Irvine park 10 miles from the Anaheim Hills home]. Dhanak’s wife, Leela, had been beaten and left for dead on a neighbor’s lawn. She remains hospitalized. Another daughter who did not live and home and was not there on the day of the murders is in protective custody.

Over the weekend, this man was detained:

iftekhar.jpg

Reports say the man, Iftekar Murtaza, was arrested on a fugitive warrant. Looks like he was preparing to flee the country with a one-way ticket to Bangladesh. He was reportedly the ex-boyfriend of the surviving daughter, Shayona Dhanak. AP says that court documents mention religion may have played a role in the crime:

Police believe at least two men committed the crimes. Martinez would not say if Murtaza knows the family, although both Shayona and Karishma Dhanak are listed as friends of Murtaza on Facebook.com.

The Orange County Register reported on its Web site late Tuesday that Murtaza had a one-way ticket to Bangladesh when he was arrested.

Citing court documents, the newspaper said Murtaza was the ex-boyfriend of Shayona Dhanak and noted problems between him and her family.

“Information developed revealed the suspect was upset with Shayona’s parents and sister for discontinuing the relationship due to different religious backgrounds, Hindu and Muslim,” the court papers said.

The Dhanaks were Hindu, while Murtaza was Muslim, the newspaper said.

A court hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

More:

Murtaza told authorities that he was not in Anaheim the day or evening of the killings but telephone records indicated that his cell phone was used less than two miles from the crime scene and about 90 minutes before the killings, court documents said.

***
Here are Facebook photos of the Dhanak sisters and Murtaza, who is indeed listed as a “friend” in their entries:

dhanak002.jpg

iftekhar002.jpg

A friend of both Shayona Dhanak and Murtaza blogs about the tragedy here and posts photos of the sisters and Murtaza. The Indian press is following the story.

Anaheim police are still seeking help. They ask anyone who might have seen something or know anything about the crime to call their hotline at 714-765-1944.

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