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April 02, 2022
On April 5, 2021, Police received a phone call from a concerned citizen who informed them that a friend, 19-year-old Farhan Towhid, had posted a suicide note online, claiming to have killed himself and his family. Police responded to the call at approximately 1am, and after receiving no response at the family residence on the 1500 block of Pine Bluff Drive in Allen, Texas, forced their way inside to discover the bodies of six people. The decedents were later identified as 19-year-old Farhan Towhid, his twin sister, Farbin Towhid, his older brother, 21-year-old Tanvir Towhid, his parents, Towhidul Islam and Iren Islam, and his grandmother, Altafun Nessa. The victims had been shot to death and it appeared the perpetrators had taken their own lives. Altafun Nessa, the children’s grandmother, did not live in the U.S but was visiting. Her trip was extended when her return flight was suspended due to the global pandemic.
Police were unable to elaborate on the details of the crime but believe that the brothers likely killed their family members on Saturday night. Neighbors were interviewed but reportedly heard no gun shots over the weekend.
The family moved from Bangladesh to the United states around 15 years ago and were described by neighbors as “the sweetest people”. They originally moved to New York City before relocating to Texas where Towhidul Islam worked in I.T and Iren Islam was a housewife. Farhan’s twin sister, Farbin, had plans to return to New York to study as she had recently been awarded a scholarship to NYU.
Farhan Towhid left behind a 12-page suicide note explaining that he and his older brother, Tanvir Towhid, had made a suicide pact a month prior and had recently obtained firearms to use in the murder-suicide.
The note, which was posted to Farhan Towhid’s Instagram profile opened with the sentence: “Hey everyone. I killed myself and my family.”
The letter was shared as a google document and linked in Farhan Towhid’s Instagram profile. In the letter he explained that he would cover important issues from his life, including struggles with depression and self-harm. Throughout the letter, Farhan explained how he started taking medication, going to therapy, keeping journals, lost weight, began to study computer programing at the College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas in Austin and eventually turned things around. He said he built what he deemed to be a perfect life, however, despite having it all, he was still in a state of despair and perpetual sadness. Depression he said, real depression, did not go away, no matter how promising the circumstances. His family were aware of his issues and tried to help him, but nothing helped, Farhan wrote.
“Everyone’s allowed to worry about their future, and I can’t even think about what I’m going to do tomorrow without enduring an existential crisis. It is not fair how everyone can be so content while I can’t even fathom being happy. No matter what I do, I just can’t be happy.”
Farhan’s mental health issues heavily interfered with his studies and he began to fall behind at school. Frustrated, he described having a breakdown, crying and laughing in his room and punching the walls. Concerned for his wellbeing, one of his roommates tried to talk to him, however Farhan claimed that he said something so worrying that he was expelled from the dorm a few weeks later.
Several days later he quit university and expressed frustration at the idea of living a normal life:
“For the life of me I just can't comprehend how you people do it.”
“How are you satisfied with that? Don't you ever get bored or upset with the menial stuff? Doesn't it feel like you're wasting your time?”
The Washington Post reported that a spokesperson for the University of Texas said Farhan Towhid officially left his dorm on January 31, 2021 before returning home to Allen. Tanvir Towhid, who was suffering with social anxiety and other mental health issues, was living in the family home when Farhan returned. The two binge-watched T.V shows together, most notably, the U.S version of The Office, which Farhan ranted about in his suicide letter. He dedicated a paragraph to his disdain for the character development and plot. The letter states that on February 21, 2021, after they finished watching all seasons of The Office, his older brother came to him with a plan that they would kill themselves and their family if they were unable to fix everything within a year. They later decided that a year was too long to wait and said they would instead wait a month.
Tanvir purchased the guns from a gun store. Farhan boasted how easy it was to obtain the firearms and lie about mental health issues in order to do so.
“All my brother had to do was go to the gun shop, say something about wanting a gun for home defense, sign some forms, and that was it. There was a question asking if he had any mental illnesses but—get this—he lied. He literally just said no.”
Farhan called gun control in the U.S a joke and thanked law makers for making it easy.
The brothers made plans deciding who would shoot who. Farhan would shoot his grandmother and sister and Tanvir would shoot their parents.
Farhan Towhid wrote that he killed his family out of love. He said they would be miserable if he killed himself and didn’t like the idea of them living with the guilt of his death: “Instead of having to deal with the aftermath of my suicide, I could just do them a favor and take them with me. None of us would ever have to feel sad ever again” he wrote.
Mental health resources:
National Institute of Mental Health (U.S)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (U.S) call: 1-800-273-8255
List of international helplines (worldwide)
If you are having suicidal thoughts or struggling with your mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out and use the resources and helplines listed above. There are people out there who understand and are ready to help you.
May 23, 2023