Grieving family members yesterday sought further investigation into the deaths of six of their relatives in Texas after police in the US state said two brothers killed their parents, grandmother and sister before dying by suicide.
The family of five in Texas was originally from Doharpara village of Pabna Sadar upazila. The brothers' grandmother was visiting them and was due to come back to Bangladesh earlier this month but could not because of the Covid-19 situation in the country, said family members at the village.
Relatives in the village also demanded the bodies be brought back to their ancestral home. They said they did not want to believe that the family met their demise in such a way as they were happy and never suffered any crisis.
Early on Monday morning in Dallas, Texas, police recovered the six bodies from a suburban home. The deceased are Altafun Nessa, 77, her daughter Iren Islam, 56, son-in-law Towhidul Islam, 54, granddaughter Farbin Towhid, 19, and grandsons Tanvir Towhid, 21 and Farhan Towhid, 19.
Dallas Morning News quoted police as saying they believe the brothers -- Tanvir and Farhan -- killed their family members, then died by suicide.
The newspaper also reported, "A social-media account that belonged Farhan Towhid contained a link to a lengthy letter that presaged the killings."
The report added that police believed the incident took place sometime Saturday, and that one of the brothers recently bought a gun.
When this correspondent visited the family's ancestral home in Doharpara, Altafun Nessa's son Abul Kalam Azad Heron said, "We talked with my mother [Altafun Nessa], sister [Iren], brother-in-law [Towhidul], nephews [Tanvir and Farhan] and niece [Farbin] regularly.
"We talked to them last Friday night, but we could not reach them since then. They never said anything about any family crisis; they were happy with each other."
He said his mother was supposed to come back to Bangladesh on April 1 and the ticket was also confirmed.
However, her travel companion – who would have travelled with her to help her during the flight – delayed the return because of fears surrounding the recent Covid-19 spike in the country, Heron said.
"My niece Farbin, who is studying in New York University, came [to Dallas] last week to see off her grandmother and to spend the last two days with her. We cannot accept the sudden shock," Heron added.
Talking to The Daily Star, Md Arifur Rahman, another of Altafun Nessa's sons, said his sister has been living in the US with her family since the 1990s and that their mother travelled there every year since 2007.
"They went to the USA for a better future and were living happily; there was no trouble. We lost six of our family members including my mother, the lone sister of five brothers, nephews and niece who are the dearest members of our family. We want proper investigation into the incident," Arifur said, and demanded that the bodies be brought back for burial in the ancestral home.
When visiting the ancestral home yesterday morning, this correspondent found relatives and locals had come to the house to console the grieving family members, but no consolation was enough.
"We have lost six members of our family -- how will we carry the pain? There is no word sufficient to console this family," said Nahida Yeasmin, a relative of the family who was visiting the house.