Samiya Haqiqi

Haqiqi, circa 1999; Fahid Popal; Farhad Popal, circa 2002

  • Missing Since 11/12/1999
  • Missing From Queens, New York
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Asian
  • Date of Birth 12/01/1974 (49)
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5 - 5'6, 128 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white t-shirt, dark blue boot-cut jeans, chunky black platform boots, an Abercrombie and Fitch baseball cap and a gold and diamond ring on her right ring finger. Carrying a dark brown leather backpack.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Black 1997 Volkswagen Jetta convertible (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Asian female. Black hair, brown or hazel eyes. Haqiqi is a native of Afghanistan. Her nickname is Sami (sometimes spelled "Sammy").

Details of Disappearance

Haqiqi was a first-year law student at Quinnipiac Law School in Connecticut in 1999. She resided in Hamden, Connecticut at the time.

She was last seen at approximately 2:30 p.m. on November 12, 1999 as she left her final class on campus. She was planning to spend the weekend at her family's home on 159th Street in the Flushing area of the New York City borough of Queens.

Haqiqi never arrived as scheduled and has not been seen again. It is uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning; her parents said she called them every day and usually spent weekends at their house.

Authorities believe that Haqiqi planned to tell her then-boyfriend, Fahid "John" Popal, that she did not want to marry him. Investigators think that Haqiqi's boyfriend learned about her rekindled relationship with a previous boyfriend prior to November 12 and was angered by the news.

Haqiqi's black 1997 Volkswagen Jetta convertible was discovered abandoned in the Grand Union supermarket parking lot on Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway in the Little Neck section of Queens on November 14, 1999, two days after her disappearance.

There was no sign of a struggle at the scene and the car was locked. Authorities found a gold necklace Haqiqi normally wore inside the vehicle. The jewelry had been given to her by her boyfriend.

Haqiqi's mother said that her daughter's car was parked less than one block from Fahid's residence. Haqiqi often parked at the location when meeting friends in the vicinity. Her family members filed a missing person's report with law enforcement the day her vehicle was discovered.

Investigators announced that they considered Fahid the prime suspect in her disappearance in 2000, more than one year after Haqiqi was last seen. Shortly after her disappearance, a witness reported that a man carried a rolled-up rug into the Long Island automobile repair shop where Fahid and his brother, Farhad "Frank" Popal, were employed.

Photos of Fahid and Farhad are posted with this case summary. Authorities searched the premises and discovered maggots under a hydraulic lift. The insects were tested for evidence of Haqiqi's DNA, in case her blood was near the lift. The results were inconclusive.

A singed clump of hair was discovered in the shop sometime after 1999. DNA testing proved the hair belonged to Haqiqi. Investigators announced that evidence suggested the hair had been violently ripped from her head.

Fahid had since relocated to Fremont, California, where he was arrested in early August 2002 and charged with Haqiqi's murder. Farhad had by then moved to Ontario, Canada and become a naturalized Canadian citizen. He was charged with hindering prosecution in her presumed homicide.

Authorities believe that Fahid killed Haqiqi after learning of her refusal to marry him, then he and Farhad disposed of her remains by burning them with an acetylene torch. Fahid was convicted of her murder in April 2006 and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.

In May 2006, Farhad pleaded no contest to one count of hindering prosecution. As part of the deal, he served no jail time and was instead required to return to Canada and not re-enter the United States for at least three years.

Haqiqi is a graduate of Newtown High School and St. John's University, where she majored in paralegal studies and made the Dean's List. Her body has never been located.

Investigating Agency

  • New York Police Department 646-610-6914

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 28, 2011; clothing/jewelry description added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.