She died in sons' arms
Cops: A new U.S. citizen, who left Guyana with her boys to work as healthcare aide here, perishes after an assault in her Bronx apartment
BY LUIS PEREZ, ROCCO PARASCANDOLA AND PETE BOWLES
April 28, 2004
A hard-working woman who brought her two sons to New York from Guyana seven years ago and recently became an American citizen was found dead by police in her well-kept Bronx apartment early yesterday.
Relatives said the victim, Waheeda Khan, 37, died in the arms of her two sons - Rehaz, 15, and Satraz, 19 - without being able to say who had attacked her.
Investigators said police were looking for a 56-year-old man they called the woman's live-in boyfriend. Relatives of Khan said she had a husband in Guyana and that she sometimes cooked for the man but had spurned his attempts to become more involved.
Police said Khan was dead when officers, responding to a 911 call, arrived at her apartment in the Castle Hill section at 3:05 a.m. Initially, detectives thought she had been shot in the head but later said it appeared she had been beaten with a blunt instrument.
No weapons were recovered but detectives yesterday could be seen tracing a light trail of blood leading from the woman's home on Blackrock Avenue to the home of the man's brother next door. The second house was still surrounded by yellow crime-scene tape last night.
Late yesterday, Khan's relatives gathered outside and talked about how the woman, a home-health care attendant, had often worked two or three jobs a day to raise her sons and to some day bring her husband to join them. Khan was sworn in as a U.S. citizen two weeks ago.
Relatives said her husband, Refeekh Khan, was expected to move to New York in several weeks, an event that police speculated may have prompted an argument between Khan and the friend, whose name was not released.
Khan's aunt, Zurene Jalil, 50, said Khan and the man being sought by police were only close friends. "She was cooking for him, and perhaps he wanted to get more involved with her," Jalil said. "She didn't want that."
According to police, the friend had sent Khan's older son to get some chicken at a nearby restaurant. Her younger son had gone to sleep.
When Satraz returned, he found his mother dying on the floor and the friend gone, police said.
Khan's sister, Azeema Garcia, 31, said Rehaz woke up, saw Satraz and his stricken mother and called 911.
"He ran back to her, held her in his arms and said, 'Hold on mom. Everything is going to be okay,'" Garcia related. "Rehaz said she closed her eyes and never opened them. She was trying to say something. She shook for two minutes."
Relatives said Khan bought the three-story house four years ago and rented out apartments in the basement and on the third floor.
"What's special about her is she came here, worked hard and looked after her two children," said Khan's father, Abdool Rohoman, 59, who lives several blocks away. "She tried to make her life, but this is not fair."