A woman who says she is best friends with 33-year-old Fahim Saleh said police found his body inside the $2.4 million Lower East Side condo Tuesday after a neighbor heard screaming and "loud noises" on Monday.
She said the neighbor called the victim's sister who checked on him and found his dismembered body in his condo. His limbs and head were stuffed in bags in the living room.
Police say the murderer used a power saw to dismember the body -- an act that was possibly interrupted when Saleh's sister called up from the street, causing the suspect to flee down the fire stairs.
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The condos in the building are full-floor and the keyed elevator opens right into the apartment.
Saleh used a key fob to select his floor in the elevator Monday, but surveillance video shows a man wearing black and carrying a bag following him on and acting like he selected a different floor.
But when they arrived on the seventh floor, the man followed Saleh off, and possibly knocked him out with a taser.
Inside Saleh's living room, sources say it appeared the killer worked hard to cover their tracks, but was perhaps interrupted or got spooked before getting rid of the evidence.
Friends described him as a brash and innovative entrepreneur who started businesses in Nigeria and elsewhere in the developing world.
"I've never met anyone like him, he's always on the go, extremely positive, uplifting, the glass is half full, just a really really, good friend who's always always there for you," the victim's friend said.
Mitchell Glixon was walking his dog Tuesday when Saleh's sister ran from the building after making the disturbing discovery.
"I think people have moments of distress in their life but I don't think people have moments of grief like that," Glixon said. "That was real grief. Guttural, animalistic. She wasn't OK."
It remains unclear how the victim died. Investigators are on the scene to examine the remains for trauma that would have caused his death.
Saleh's family released the following statement:
"The headlines talk about a crime we still cannot fathom. Fahim is more than what you are reading. He is so much more. His brilliant and innovative mind took everyone who was a part of his world on a journey and he made sure never to leave anyone behind. Fahim found success at an early age and built on it year after year, while remaining grounded and committed to helping others. No matter what he did, he did it while thinking of the greater good and his family. His parents and his sisters were his light and he was theirs.
There are no words or actions to provide any of us comfort except the capture of the person who exhibited nothing short of evil upon our loved one.
For now, we ask for journalists and members of the public to respect our family's privacy and allow for us to grieve during this unimaginable time. Please do not attempt to contact us, other members of the extended family and friends unless we reach out to you.
We need and urge the NYPD and other members of law enforcement to work diligently to get to the bottom of this horrific crime and bring justice for Fahim."
Gokada, a ride-sharing startup company based in Nigeria that was co-founded by Saleh, released the following statement Wednesday:
We are deeply saddened to inform you about the sudden and tragic loss of our founder and CEO, Fahim Saleh. Fahim was a great leader, inspiration and positive light for all of us. Our hearts go out to his friends, family and all those feeling the pain and heartbreak we are currently experiencing, here at Gokada. Fahim's vision and belief in us will be with us forever, and we will miss him dearly. Thank you for understanding as we get through this.
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