A podcaster and her husband were murdered by a stalker at their home just days after being granted a no-contact order.
Podcaster Zohreh Sadeghi, 33, and her husband, Mohammad Milad Naseri, 35, were killed at their home in Redmond, 15 miles away southwest of Seattle, Washington. Their killer, 38-year-old Ramin Khodakaramrezaei, was also found dead at the scene, according to the Associated Press.
Khodakaramrezaei broke into the couple’s home through a window in the early morning hours of Friday, just a week after the victims had obtained a protection order against him. Officers had tried to locate Khodakaramrezaei, a truck driver from Texas, to serve the order but were unable to find him, Redmond Police Department Chief Darrell Lowe said at a press conference.
Sadeghi’s mother managed to escape the scene and fled to a neighbour’s house, where she then called police.
“This is the absolute worst outcome for a stalking case. This is every victim, every detective, every police chief’s worst nightmare,” Chief Lowe said.
When police arrived at the scene, they found a wounded Naseri lying on the floor by the door of his home. They attempted to perform CPR but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sadeghi and the shooter were found dead inside the residence.
According to Chief Lowe, Sadeghi and Khodakaramrezaei met up in person last summer after becoming acquainted in an online chat room on the app Clubhouse for Farsi speakers looking for jobs in the tech industry.
Khodakaramrezaei reportedly told Sadeghi that he had listened to the podcast she hosted.
But on 6 November, she first told Khodakaramrezaei to stop contacting her when began harassing her and calling her from different numbers, according to the application for a protection order obtained by local news station KOMO.
She first alerted police in mid-December after Khodakaramrezaei showed up at her door and gave her flowers while her husband was away.
He reportedly told her that he “would show up to my door and burn himself and set fire on my house by burning the tree that I love.”
Khodakaramrezaei obtained her friend’s numbers and continued to send her gifts even after police gave him warnings.
Sadeghi said that he “had bursts of anger and is completely delusional. These delusions make me fear for my life and the lives of my loved ones”.
“All of this has caused me great distress and pain, and now I am suffering from a deep-seated fear for my safety. It has taken a toll on my recovery [after surgery],” the slain podcaster wrote in the application.
“I haven’t been able to open the curtains in my bedroom out of fear of him being outside watching me.”
At one point, Khodakaramrezaei called Sadeghi more than 100 times a day, and left more than 20 voicemails for her husband.
The couple, who married in 2011 after moving to the US from Iran, tried changing numbers. However, Khodakaramrezaei would find out their new contact information and call them from different hotels he stayed at while visiting Redmond.
He also told Sadeghi that he wouldn’t stop until “he killed himself or died”.
Sadeghi followed up with police again in December and January, when she filed for a protection order.
In late February, Khodakaramrezaei left her two voicemails that were “vulgar, angry, and threatening,” according to the documents obtained by KOMO. Chief Lowe said his officers had attempted to serve the order but were unable to because Khodakaramrezaei was a long-haul truck driver and was always on the move.
The police chief said Sadeghi did everything right but noted that a restraining order can’t stop “someone [who] is intent on causing … harm.”
“I do not want to create a false sense of security, just because a restraining order or a protective order is obtained that that is some type of shield,” Chief Lowe said.
“…This is an incredibly sad situation and the worst possible outcome of a stalking case. We will continue investigating what led to this tragic loss.”
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