tv The Hunt With John Walsh CNN February 7, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
common decency, the kindness, the courage of child victims. it makes you madder. and you say, that girl deserves and you say, that girl deserves justice. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com # back in 1981, i had the american dream, the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs, and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son good-bye and never saw him again. in two weeks, i became the parent of a murdered child, and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heartache. i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers.
and over those years, i learned how to do one thing really well, and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a man hunter, i'm out there looking for bad guys. ♪ >> 911, what is your emergency? [ screaming ] >> ma'am, what is your address? all i got is something she's dying. are you still there, ma'am? ma'am, are you still there? ma'am?
ma'am, are you still there? ♪ ♪ run on to the dark side ♪ run on for a long time ♪ run on for a long ♪ the light is going to cut you down ♪ ♪ tell the midnight rider ♪ tell the midnight rider ♪ tell him about a man going to cut you down ♪ >> you have beautiful eyes. >> thank you. she is jealous. that needs to be recorded.
>> look at me. ooh. that's nice. [ laughter ] >> just kidding. >> my name's patricia owens. and they were my girls. they were beautiful inside and out. i was really blessed when i had them. i never dreamed that i would get married at 15 years old and have my first baby at 16, which i would never change having my babies, but if i had it to do over with, i would have waited until i got older. we didn't know much about yaser. none of the family did, because tissie only knew him for a few weeks before they got married. so you really don't know anyone in a two-weeks time.
>> yaser and his three brothers had come to america in 1983. they'd been raised in egypt. but they left egypt for a new life. he worked at a convenience store, and that's where he met patricia owens. he was 30, and she was 15. ♪ we had went out to eat, and we come home, and yaser told my mom, i want to marry your daughter. and my mom's, like, you've only known her for a couple week, and he said, yes, i know. i want to marry her. >> he convinced my mom and dad that his family had money, and i think there was a sense of -- my mom and dad thought, well, she'll be taken care of. >> she was very naïve and very trusting and did not really understand how radically her
life was going to change. >> he convinced this family that if you give me your 15-year-old daughter, she'll be in a better place. and this guy preyed upon that naivete. >> it was three or four times a week that he would hit me or kick me or, i knew, like, the things that would set him off. and i'd have to not do those things, like, if he was at home, i wasn't allowed to talk to my family on the phone unless he was up there and it was on speakerphone. and as time went by, he would threaten me, like if i said anything to anybody that he would hurt them. >> it's the classic control
freak domestic abuse scenario. make the woman so dependent upon the man that she's not only afraid, she's actually convinced that this is the norm. this is the way that she has to live. >> yaser always had a gun on him, and he would always go to the gun range to practice shooting. he had threatened before to kill my mom. and kill my dad. >> i think that slowly patricia became very, very isolated. >> when tissie got pregnant, she was very, very happy. she was going to be a mom. even though she was young. then came amina, and then came sarah.
>> i mean, by the time patricia was 18 years old, she had three children. and virtually no money. >> i worked all the time, because he would hardly work. he worked at 7-eleven for about a couple of months, then walmart for four months, and he drove a taxi every now and then. >> he had the perfect part-time job. taxi driving is cash business. you work when you feel like it, when you want to. you have plenty of free time, and that allowed him to make cash, and, if he needed to or wanted to, to follow her around.
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i think yaser controlled everything that patricia did. this happened from the very beginning of their marriage, and it escalated as they had kids and the kids grew older. i think one reason that yaser was so isolating and protective is that he did not want the girls to tell people what was really going on. >> amina had gone to my sister, her grandmother, and told her, you know, that her dad was touching her in private places.
i got a phone call from my sister, and she said can you watch tissie's children? as they were eating, amina reached out and grabbed my arm. she said, aunt gail, did you know what daddy did? i said, amina, i've heard that your daddy did something and no daddy should do. and i started to walk away, because i felt tears coming. my eyes were stinging. my heart was breaking. and amina and sarah were sitting across the table. and as i was rounding the table, sarah reached out, and she grabbed my arm. she said, aunt gail, it hurt. >> i'd have a daughter, my whole
life i'd spend trying to protect her. i can't even conceive that the first sexual encounter your daughter has is with the man who's supposed to be her loving protector, her savior. >> when amina told me, i left the same day, and we moved in, and we stayed at my mom's. >> on december 17, 1998, yaser was indicted for sexual penetration of the girls. he threatened to kill patricia and to take the girls and just disappear. the sheriff's department was going forward with this complaint when amina and sarah recanted, saying, they just made that up because they didn't like
their school and they wanted to not go to school there anymore. i think that yaser called the phone, my mom's house and that the kids, one of the girls answered it, and i think that he convinced them to say that it didn't happen. and because after that, like not even an hour later, they said, oh, mom, it didn't happen. we were just saying it happened, because we didn't want to go back to covington, and i'm, like, are you sure it didn't happen? are you just telling me that? and they said no, it didn't happen. it didn't happen. >> i think yaser told tissie, nothing is going to happen again, i'm going to work and i will do this and i just want my
f family to be together, and of course, you know, tissie wanted to believe that. >> so without the kids, without the girls being able and willing to testify, the sheriff's department didn't have a case, and so it was dropped. >> amina wrote me a letter saying that she had done told child protective services that it never happened. but she said, aunt connie, it did, and don't make me go back. please don't make me go back. >> why would you take your girls back? especially if you have been a victim yourself? i don't understand that. i'm never going to understand that. >> i hated her. i hated her for going back, telling her, you know, how could you? you know, this is ridiculous, you know, you're going to take those kids and let them get sexually abused.
i could tell right then when i started with her, she didn't want to hear it. she wasn't going to hear it, and there was nothing i could say to change her mind. >> they all knew that he was a bad guy, but yet nobody could stop this train. nobody could stop this guy from the huge amount of control. the svengali like control he had over his family. he had them by the necks. >> it is a horrible lesson that they've learned is that you tell the truth, and nobody does anything. you tell the truth, and no one protects you, not even your mother. >> it was stupid on my behalf, is what it was. i can't give you a good reason why i went back, because there is no good reason why i went back. i mean, i know that i have to believe my kids before i believe anybody.
and i failed them that day. when i took them back, i failed my kids. >> yaser's big ambition was marry them off. get the dowry. they were a means to an end for him. i think it landed last tuesday. one second it's there. then, woosh, it's gone. i swear i saw it swallow seven people. seven. i just wish one of those people could have been mrs. johnson. [dog bark] trust me, we're dealing with a higher intelligence here. ♪ the all-new audi q7 is here. ♪
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i know how you use these. >> yeah, you do. >> how you open it. [ laughter ] >> kidding. >> keep your hand off the trigger. >> just kidding. actually, i do know how to pull it back. >> no, don't do that. >> i won't, don't worry. i know you're scared. >> don't point that at me. >> it's nice, though. let's go out to the land and
shoot it. okay. i'll put it back in its thing. ♪ >> amina was that type of person, she could make you her friend and, like, the first two or three minutes you meet her. amina was more of a girly girl. and sarah was a more of a tomboy. tennis, soccer. any sport she could possibly play, sarah was in. >> they were also just developing into beautiful young women. they had this beautiful black hair and creamy skin, beautiful eyes. and they loved taking pictures of each other. yaser had big plans for what he was going to do when the girls came of age, when islam and the girls came of age and were ready to marry.
♪ in egypt, i think there's some expectation, if you've made it in america you're really rich. so you have to have a certain kind of a wedding to uphold your family's good name. and amina and sarah, he had gold. they would bring him money, traditional dowry, but they also had to make financial sacrifices. >> he drove a taxi every now and then, because he was making money to send to egypt to buy houses. >> he was saving every penny to build a house for each of his children so that when the time was right, they could make a good marriage in egypt.
>> every time he went to egypt, he went to egypt with at least $10,000. >> he looked at them as a source of income, that he could arrange those marriages and hopefully get a dowry. they were his egyptian 401(k). >> i think he viewed them as objects of not fatherly affection, but his property. they were his property. very much so. >> want to take my cousins out to eat. one of my cousins invited tissie along, and tissie said, the kids and yaser are in egypt. she said i got a phone call from amina.
she was all upset. yaser wanted to introduce her to a 45-year-old man that he wanted her to marry. and amina said she didn't want to be married to some fat, old 45-year-old man. >> it was one thing to talk about oh, yeah, you're going to marry an egyptian some day. it's another thing to go over there and see your dad has been planning this, and here's this house that he's bought for you. and amina at 16 years old was smart enough to understand, this is not just some, some talk. this is really happening. and she was not going to go along with her father's plans. >> he always carried his camera everywhere. >> when they started rebelling, he could not figure out how to keep them on track without the
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okay, bye. >> where are you going? >> i'm going to the bus. >> okay, take amina with you. >> wait, wait. >> bye, daddy! >> bye amina! >> bye, dad. >> bye. okay. >> he always carried his camera everywhere. >> yaser was videoing them to see who they was talking to and to make sure they get on the bus. when they were at school, he would be taping them to see what they were doing. all the way till they got to the house he was videoing them. >> he was the consummate stalker
so that he can confront them at some point and say don't do anything that i don't tell you you can do. ♪ >> yaser did try to control those girls, and he did to the best of his ability. mainly to make sure they wasn't seeing other boys. >> yaser did tell them, y'all are muslim girls, you have to marry muslim guys. >> it's on, i can tell. >> no it's not. >> yeah. >> black hair baby. >> right. can you please turn that off? let me tape you. >> hmm? >> let me tape you. >> hm-mm.
coffee, coffee. [ laughter ] >> are you going to kill somebody? >> he put a recorder in amina's car. he would check them for mileage. that was just the way that he controlled us. >> i think that there was fear instilled within them. constant warnings that they'd better walk the line. it was a mind game. >> you follow the rules. you follow the rules, or you die. i mean, those girls lived in hell every day. could you imagine waking up to that every day?
>> hi. >> hi. >> me, amina, sarah, we had very open relationship. and i knew that she had a boyfriend. >> when i married amina, actually, she had given up on her life. she had given up on her life because of all the threats, all the violence that was going on in her house. one of the things amina told me is i gave her hope. i gave her a reason to live. i gave her love. >> yaser, he knew that they were seeing boys, that they were talking to boys, but not how serious it was, that they both had boyfriends. >> around november, the threats from yaser started getting more serious. >> he said don't get used to
amina being around very long. you're not going to have a sister for much longer. >> and it finally all came to a head on christmas eve 2007. patricia was at work. and amina and sarah ran in crying and screaming. yaser had started waving a gun around at them, threatening to kill them, because he had found out that they had boyfriends. and he was furious. [ gunfire ] >> yaser had pulled a gun, told amina that he was going to kill her. >> i think these two girls said, you know what? we're not going to suffer the same fate as our mom. they figured out that they needed to run. that they needed a way to get
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on december 27, everybody piled in the car. patricia, her two daughters, their two boyfriends. they go to tulsa, where one of the boyfriends has a relative. >> after we got out of texas, and we got to oklahoma, it was just like a big old weight lifted off of my shoulders. >> i felt very happy. and i remember a big smile.
she really wanted her freedom. she was very brave. >> they rented an apartment. patricia and one of the boyfriends are able to get jobs very quickly. they buy a few furnishings, and for a day or two, they decided, okay, yeah, this is going to work. tulsa is fine. >> the only problem with that run to oklahoma, the only hole in their plan was they took mom. ♪ >> i was talking to tissie, she was pretty shaken up.
just, you could tell in her voice that she was scared when i talked to her every day. >> connie had told patricia that yaser called her, gave her a story that he was wanting the girls to come back, that he would allow the girls to have boyfriends, all he wanted is his family together. >> i think he was a master manipulator. he counted on one thing. that mom was the weakest link in the chain. >> it was around this time that i got a call from my parents, and they really wanted to talk to me about my whole situation, my decision. i left oklahoma on saturday. i felt they were safe, you know, i felt when i come back, we'll continue on with our lives. and patricia agreed they were going to stay there, and there was no reason to come back.
i got back to dallas, and the next morning, i get a call from amina and says that we're coming back. i was confused, because patricia had agreed that we were staying in oklahoma. >> we all talked about it, amina, sarah and myself, and we all agreed to come back, for amina to finish school and for sarah to finish her year out. then when school was over, we were going to go back to the apartment in oklahoma. >> i do not believe for a moment that amina would have ever come back to texas had she not been fooled, lied to, manipulated. >> i know a lot of people speculate saying that i forced the girls to go back home. okay.
if you knew my girls, you could have not forced them to do anything they did not want to do. >> i do not care what my niece says. in fact, that people knew that she was coming back, that is a lie. straight from the pit of freakin' hell. >> amina was wanting to go to her boyfriend's new year's party. she went there. me and sarah, we was going to go to the grave site, to my mom's, because she lives, the grave site is like, from where we live, like an hour away. so the next morning, we were going to get up and go there. well, we changed our plans. we went and ate and then went to the grapevine mills mall and went back to the house. so the kids was not tricked. they made the decision that they wanted to come back to
lewisville. >> patricia and sarah's plan was they were going to visit patricia's mom's grave. there was no plan to visit yaser. >> to be honest, i don't know why they, you know, why they come back. tissie wasn't answering the phone. it was going like straight to a voice mail. i couldn't get anybody to answer the phone. and then amina called me. she was very upset, very, like kind of yelling at me almost. and aunt connie, did you know my mom went back to my dad and just, you know, kind of, in her voice, it was a little frantic, and i said i didn't know. she said well, i'm never going back there. i'd rather die first than to ever go back there. >> i was feeling upset and confused and hopeless. i mean, i didn't know what to do. i had no money, we had nowhere to run.
i remember amina walking outside and telling me that i gave up on her, that i'm letting her go. and she said that's it, you know, you will never see me again. >> i admit, i made a mistake when i came back here. but i thought i was doing the right thing for amina, for her schooling. i didn't know i was coming back for my daughters to be murdered. i didn't know that. >> me and my dad were driving down the road. i noticed yaser with the girls in the car. ♪
amina posted on her facebook, you know, she was afraid to become a member, because she knew that yaser's threats were real, and amina knew that with yaser, it was a one-way road. there was no coming back. she was afraid to die. and i would be too, you know. >> the 20 years i was married to yaser, i never saw any tears in his eyes, and he had a tear running down his cheek, and he kissed her on the forehead and said i'm glad you're home. said we're going to go eat, and we'll be back in a little bit. >> later on that night, me and
my dad were driving down the road. i noticed yaser with the girls in the car. yaser was driving. amina was in the passenger seat, sarah was in the back seat. i can remember amina's face. she was scared. she was afraid. i had sarah's number, and i called her, because i knew amina didn't have her phone. i said hello, hello, and i hung up, because i was afraid i could probably jeopardize their lives, you know, if he was trying to work things out. we followed yaser down the road for a few miles, but we had to go on our way and stopped following them. and they looked okay.
♪ [ gunfire ] >> 911, what is your emergency? >> my dad shot me. i'm dying! >> what's going on, ma'am? >> i'm dying. that's what's happening. >> ma'am, are you still there? all i've got is she's dying. are you still there, ma'am? ma'am, what is your address? ma'am? >> we tried to triangulate where she was from cell phone towers and things like that. and we were able to get a general area, but not narrow enough to find her.
♪ >> the officer come knocking on the door and he asked if everything was okay. and i said, yeah, why? he said, i just got a call from a number that's registered to this address, 911, that her sister's been shot, and she's been shot, and she's dying. and i fell to my knees. they put me in the back of a car. and took us to irving. i had to go identify the voice on the 911 call. my baby was begging for her
life. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> we're driving by our cab stand, and there's a driver with two people inside. one in the passenger seat and one in the rear of the vehicle. one in the passenger seat looks like she's hunched over and looks like she has blood coming from her ear. there's no cabdriver to be found. ♪ >> why did he do it? how could he do it? those are his kids.
how could you look one of them in the face and put bullets in them? >> they were shot there in the seats. they were both shot multiple times, it appeared they had been shot sitting where they are. we didn't believe they'd been moved or anything like that. >> according to the coroner, amina died almost instantly, sarah, he shoots in a pattern all around her body. her limbs, to drag out her death. what kind of creature is that? what kind of evil psychotic devil is that? >> we went there, and we immediately had a lot of officers out there on foot and in cars, driving around, searching parking garages, different areas, looking for yaser said. >> this was on new year's day 2008.
and he's never been seen since. >> there isn't a place in hell deep enough for this guy. it is so appalling. i know what it's like. you're not supposed to bury your children. they're your immortality. they're your legacy. how could you possibly kill your own children? >> he took all the money he had saved. he left his, he always carried his camera everywhere. he left his camera, he took all his money and his gun with him. >> this is me and my beautiful mommy. >> and this was two young women who didn't do anything. i mean, except for trying to be happy, they were never happy. and their pictures, they looked happy.
these kids were never happy. >> in the back of my head, i knew that this whole time they were running it was in vain. patricia did what yaser told her to do, and yaser's promise of one day killing amina had come true. >> yaser said has been placed on the fbi's ten most wanted list. he has birthmarks on both sides of his neck and a scar on his left eyebrow. he frequently wears dark sunglasses, even indoors, he smokes marlboro light cigarettes and enjoys smoking a hookah. if you've seen him or know anything about his whereabouts, he may be armed and dangerous, so please, call, 1-866-the hunt or go to our website, cnn.com/the hunt. you can remain anonymous. we'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities and if
requested, we'll not reveal your name. >> my heart, an open wound. i can only cry. don't try to understand. make me a bird. let me fly. i hate you. i hate your land, you've frozen my heart. let me die. you never knew me. don't start. make me an angel. let me fly. endless tyranny, round and round. let me go where i can be found. my pain you will never know. make me a leaf, let me fly. blow, wind, blow. you hang on. you think you want me. you don't want to know. you don't know me. and here i don't want to be.
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com back in 1981, i had the american dream the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son good-bye and never saw him again. in two weeks i became the parent of a murdered child. and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heartache. still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. and over those years i learned how to do one thing really well, and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a man hunter. i'm out there looking for bad