A Saudi student accused of killing a 15-year-old Oregon girl in a hit-and-run escaped justice in the United States with the help of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials reportedly believe.
Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah illegally sped through a Portland intersection in his gold Lexus in August 2016, mowing down Fallon Smart and killing her on the spot, the Oregonian reported at the time, citing police.
The driver didn’t stop and continued speeding away, witnesses told the Oregonian. He later returned to the scene and was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
However, nine days before his trial was scheduled to begin in June 2017, Noorah disappeared, skipping the $100,000 bail paid for him by the Saudi consulate, CNN reported.
His disappearance enraged Fallon’s family, with the slain high-school student’s uncle Shane Smart revealing that the family had objected to bail from the get-go because they strongly suspected that Noorah was a flight risk.
“Abdulrahman Noorah has now disappeared and we can only assume trying to return to his home country to evade paying for what he did to my sweet niece,” Shane Smart said in a Facebook post on June 12, 2017.
It now turns out those fears may have been well-founded.
On Dec. 23, a year and a half after Smart voiced concerns about Noorah fleeing the U.S., the Oregonian reported that federal officials believe that’s exactly what he did.
Investigators say Noorah cut off his monitoring bracelet before departing Portland with Saudi assistance, NBC’s Portland affiliate KATU reported.
Noorah procured an illicit passport with the help of the Saudi government and likely boarded a private jet to flee the U.S., the Oregonian reported, citing law enforcement officials.
Officials told the Oregonian that Noorah returned to Saudi Arabia in June 2017, but were only recently informed of his return by the Saudi government.
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“We’re doing everything we can to get him back,” Eric Wahlstrom, a supervisory deputy U.S. marshal in Oregon, told the Oregonian.
Noorah’s exact whereabouts are not known, however, and Saudi authorities haven’t commented on his case.
The U.S. does not have a bilateral extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. State Department.