Gelareh Bagherzadeh: $5,000 Reward for Information About Her Murder
The younger brother of a Texas Medical Center student who was slain outside her parents' Galleria-area townhome Monday issued a tearful plea for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
"I can't see my parents -- and I don't want to see any parents -- in this situation, and we need to get these people off the street," Ali Bagherzadeh said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Crime Stoppers has announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest or the filing of felony charges in the shooting death of his sister, 30-year-old Gelareh Bagherzadeh, who was an outspoken advocate for women's rights in Iran.
Houston Police Sgt. J.C. Padilla said there are no current suspects or known motives, but that investigators are taking another look at a 2010 assault complaint Bagherzadeh filed against someone described as a male acquaintance who may have expressed an interest in her. No charges were filed in that case, which Padilla said was not an aggravated assault.
Police received a call of shots fired in the 700 block of Augusta around 11:45 p.m. Monday night, but a patrol unit didn't turn anything up. But a second call about 30 minutes later directed police to 894 Augusta, where Bagherzadeh was found slumped over the wheel of her father's Nissan Maxima, which had crashed into a garage and was still running.
Bagherzadeh suffered one fatal shot to her head and may have been shot a second time, and as many as four shots were fired, Padilla said.
She was speaking to her ex-boyfriend on the phone at the time of the incident and was returning from a friend's house when she was killed. Ballistics experts were examining the bullets to determine the weapon used. Both the ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend are cooperating in the investigation and are not persons of interest, Padilla said.
Bagherzadeh, who was studying molecular genetics technology at MD Anderson, was an advocate for women's rights in Iran. It is not known if her advocacy played any role in her death.
Ali Bagherzadeh described his sister as a passionate person who was always helping people.
"She always, always told me, 'Never forget about people,'" he said.
Anyone with any information about the case is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be sent via text: Text TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.