Six members of a Bangladeshi family were found dead in an Allen home in Texus early Monday in what police said is an apparent murder-suicide.
The deceased were identified as Altafun Nessa, 77, Iren Islam, 56, Towhidul Islam, 54, Tanvir Towhid, 21, and Farbin Towhid and Farhan Towhid, both 19. Police said they were two brothers, a sister, their father and mother, and a grandmother.
Police said they believe the brothers killed their family members, then themselves.
“Apparently two brothers made an agreement to commit suicide and ended up taking the entire family with them,” said Sgt. Jon Felty, a police spokesman.
A social-media account that belonged Farhan Towhid contained a link to a lengthy letter that presaged the killings.
Police believe that the incident happened sometime Saturday. They said that one of the brothers recently bought a gun.
‘I couldn’t breathe’
Shawn Ahsan gathered near the home with several members of the Bangladesh Association of North Texas for most of the afternoon Monday. Ahsan said he’d known the family for about 11 years and was close with Towhidul Islam.
“He was proud” of his three children, Ahsan said.
Ahsan said he tried calling Islam on Sunday and was a little worried when he didn’t hear back. He heard the news of the deaths from a friend Monday morning.
“I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’ ” he said. “I couldn’t breathe for 20 minutes, to be honest with you, I was crying in my office.”
Ahmad Hossain, who lives about a block away, said the family was originally from New York but moved to the neighborhood seven or eight years ago.
Hossain said Nessa lived in Bangladesh and was visiting the family. She had been scheduled to go back home last week but wasn’t able to travel because of COVID-19.
“It’s sad that happened to her, if she’d gone, she [would have survived],” he said.
Sahnewaz Hossain, Ahmad Hossain’s wife, said she got to know Iren Islam well through a religious class.
“The mom always talked about the boys, how they’re good in studies, how they’re getting into good schools with scholarships,” she said. “Every time I would come home, I’d tell my kids how good they were doing. They were a fun-loving, simple family.”
Hossain said that Iren Islam and her friends liked to plant vegetables and that a few days ago someone had asked her for some seeds.
She didn’t have any but went out of her way to find some for her friend. When the friend came by for the seeds, Islam had cooked several dishes to send home with her.
“Their family was like that. They shared with everybody,” she said.
Fazia Rahman and Angelina Biswas graduated from Allen High School last year with Farbin and Farhan Towhid.
“Their parents were genuinely the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life,” Rahman said. “So friendly, caring. … They treated everyone like they were their own kids, they’d be like ‘Come in, we have food for you, come eat.’ ”
They both said Farbin Towhid was an outgoing, sweet person.
“[She] was so bubbly,” Biswas said. “Talking to her was like a lightbulb going off all the time.”
Biswas said Farhan Towhid was a brilliant, ambitious person.
“He was super into programming and coding, and he only learned for the sake of himself,” she said. “He always did projects and stuff that he was super into just so he could know more. … He was good at a lot of things, but he was super modest and humble about it.”
Rahman said she wanted people to know that the family was more than what happened to them.
“We don’t want this to be their family legacy,” she said. “They were such great people, they genuinely touched the lives of everyone who they came in contact with. … They were good people who had bright futures ahead of them.”
Karen Falla, who lives across the street, said she and her family are still processing what happened.
“We were out working in our yard yesterday and all the six people had already died, and we had no idea,” she said.
Falla said that her family didn’t know the family that well but that her husband chatted with them when they were doing yard work. Her daughter knew two of the siblings, she said.
“She said they’re smart kids,” Falla said. “The sister was really sweet, they’re smart kids and did well in school and had a positive outlook for their future.”
Next-door neighbor Kevin Patel, 28, has lived in the neighborhood since 2016 but said he had seen the family only a few times in passing.
He said he came home about 7:30 a.m. Monday and saw police outside, but they didn’t say why they were there. His parents showed him the news later.
“I didn’t believe it the first time,” he said. “It was shocking.”
Melissa Clark, 44, lives across the street and said that the neighborhood is typically quiet. She said even though she knew the public was safe, learning about the family’s deaths was nerve-wracking.
“It is shocking when you look out your front windows in the morning and there’s a crime scene,” Clark said.
Police are continuing to investigate the deaths.