U.S. Marshals located Mohammad Ahmad of Silver Ridge Court, Kingstowne, at a motel near LaGuardia Airport in New York on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 15, three days after a search for the fugitive had been launched, according to a Fairfax County Police release. The marshals were acting as part of the Capital Area Fugitive Task Force and the Fairfax County Fugitive Squad.
Ahmad, 24, was being sought on a murder charge following the death of a 21-month-old Alexandria boy in Ahmad's apartment.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12 around 11 a.m., police and fire and rescue personnel arrived at the basement apartment Ahmad shared with his wife, Jillian, in response to a report of a child who was not breathing. The child, Myles Simon, was transported to the Springfield Healthplex and pronounced dead.
An autopsy later that day determined that the child had a fractured skull and a lacerated liver, and the case was ruled to be a homicide.
At the Ahmads' home, Jillian Ahmad, 21, told a detective she and her husband babysat four children in the apartment, according to an affidavit filed by police for a search warrant. She told the detective that at about 9 a.m., she had left three children, including Myles, in the apartment with her husband while she ran errands.
While she was out, she told the detective, her husband called her twice, saying Myles was tired and wanted to sleep, and she told him it was too early for the child to nap, the affidavit said.
WHEN SHE RETURNED around 11 a.m., the woman said, her husband told her to check on Myles in his crib. When she did so, she found him unresponsive and called 911.
Before police and rescue workers arrived, the woman said, her husband had left in the car he had recently bought from a friend. She said that she called him repeatedly, asking him to return to the apartment, but he refused.
On Wednesday, at about 3 p.m., the affidavit said, a police officer found a car matching the description of the vehicle Ahmad had been driving. It was parked on Payne Street in Falls Church, near the home of Ahmad's landlord, and the officer saw an envelope on the front seat, bearing writing to the effect of, "He sat on the couch and fell off, and I tried to help." The car was taken into custody.
Fairfax County Police spokesman Lt. Rich Perez would not comment on the evidence that led marshals to the New York motel. Perez said Ahmad may not be returned to Fairfax County for a month or so, as law enforcement must follow a lengthy extradition process that entitles Ahmad to a hearing in New York before he is transported.
THE CHARGE AGAINST Mohammad Ahmad is the only one that has been issued. However, Belinda Buescher, public information officer for Fairfax County Family Services, said the couple was running a home day-care business without a permit, in violation of county code.
Any child-care provider charging money for babysitting five or fewer children in their home is required to have a permit from the county, unless the children are related to the providers, said Buescher. To care for six or more children, the provider must have a license from the state.
The permitting process that would have legitimized the Ahmads' babysitting requires a criminal background check on all adults in the household, among other requirements, she said.
Police have shut down the Ahmads' business, said Gail Bjorklund of the county's Office for Children, but no charges have been filed regarding its illegal operation. "Right now, the investigation is in the hands of the police," said Bjorklund. "We're not sure what the outcome of that will be, but that is still a possibility."
Fairfax County Public Information Officer Richard Henry said police are still investigating the nature of the Ahmads' business.
Bjorkland said it is important for parents to check on a child-care provider's legitimacy before entrusting anyone with their children. "The first thing parents need to ask is, 'Do you have a permit?'" she said.
Parents can check on a provider's status with the county by calling the Office for Children at 703-324-8100. A listing of permitted providers is also available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/childcare. Bjorkland said providers can opt out of being listed. However, she said, "very few people do opt out."