Podcasters killed in Washington: Suspected stalker who allegedly killed couple in murder-suicide was from Houston, police say

Podcasters killed in Washington: Suspected stalker who allegedly killed couple in murder-suicide was from Houston, police say
Podcasters killed in Washington: Suspected stalker who allegedly killed couple in murder-suicide was from Houston, police say

REDMOND, Wash. — A long-haul truck driver from Houston, Texas, who became obsessed with a Washington state software engineer after meeting her through a social media chat room app, killed her, her husband and himself after stalking them for months, police said.

Zohreh Sadeghi, 33, and her husband, Mohammad Milad Naseri, 35, were shot to death in their suburban Seattle home by Ramin Khodakaramrezaei, 38, according to Redmond Police Chief Darrell Lowe. He said officers spent a week trying to serve a protection order on Khodakaramrezaei but had been unable to locate him before the killings.

“This is the absolute worst outcome for a stalking case,” Lowe said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “This is every victim, every detective, every police chief’s worst nightmare.”

In a written statement, the police department said Friday that the suspect began communicating with Sadeghi after listening to her podcasts. Lowe explained that the two became acquainted because he heard her in an audio chat room on the app Clubhouse, where he said she was facilitating a discussion for Farsi speakers seeking work in the tech industry.

Sadeghi’s mother called police around 1:45 a.m. Friday after escaping the home and running to a neighbor’s house.

Arriving officers saw Naseri collapsed in the doorway of the home and pulled him out, discovering he had been shot, Lowe said. They performed CPR, but he died at the scene. Inside the home, officers found Sadeghi and the suspect dead.

Khodakaramrezaei befriended Sadeghi on the online chat room in late 2021. Lowe said the two met in person last summer before the contacts escalated into harassing phone calls and threats this fall. At one point, he showed up at their house unsolicited with flowers, Lowe said.

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As the stalker’s behavior intensified, Redmond Police filed a complaint against him for stalking and telephone harassment on March 2, and Sadeghi and Naseri obtained an order of protection the next day.

Sadeghi wrote in the protective order application that Khodakaramrezaei threatened to show up at her home and set it on fire and left voicemails declaring he wouldn’t stop unless “he killed himself or died,” The Seattle Times reported.

Sadeghi tried to cut off contact with Khodakaramrezaei, but the harassment continued, so she contacted the police in December and again in January after his actions intensified.

Lowe said at one point the suspect contacted Sadeghi more than 100 times in a single day. He stressed that a restraining order is just a piece of paper – it allows the police to take action if someone breaks it, but it cannot protect a person when “someone intends to harm them”.

Sadeghi was a software engineer who had worked at Promontory MortgagePath, which provided mortgage services before it closed in November. She had also studied at the University of Washington’s graduate programs, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Lora Ruffin, of Cupertino, Calif., said Saturday that she worked remotely with Sadeghi on the same team at Promontory writing software to help community banks offer mortgages. They never met in person.

Sadeghi spent the last months of her life looking for a new job, but she had just found one and contacted Ruffin on Thursday asking her to be a reference. Ruffin called her cooperative, well-organized and helpful.

“She got along with everybody on the team,” Ruffin said.

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Sadeghi’s Twitter feed featured content related to progressive politics and human rights, particularly women’s rights in Iran. She and Nasiri also identified as science fiction fans.

Nasiri had worked at Amazon since January 2022, and he said in his blog that growing up in Iran, he was ranked the second best singer in Tehran in 2007 before going on to study at Sharif University of Technology. The couple married in 2011 after moving to the United States

A number of posts on Nasiri’s blog describe his efforts to land a job at Google, which he finally succeeded in 2017. He worked there for five years before moving to Amazon.

While most of Nasiri’s posts were about work or technology, last October he wrote to condemn the death of a 16-year-old girl amid protests in Iran over the treatment of women following the death of a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by the country’s morality police.

WATCH: Podcaster, husband fatally shot after stalker breaks into WA home, police say

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