Mt. Vernon Register-News


December 14, 2006

Trying to heal the emotional scars

Detective working on 1972 fire case wants to find a way to bring suspects to justice


MT. VERNON — Ever since the fire that changed Aidah Mahmood’s life forever, she’s been trying to find peace.

But that peace never comes.

The scars remain from being burned over more than 80 percent of her body and having 300 skin-graft surgeries. But the scars go much deeper than that.

Because of the injuries caused by the house fire and jumping from a window to try to escape, she describes herself as having a “broken body.” In addition to the damage to her arms and hands, she also suffered a broken hip and back and must take pain killers.

The blood she was given during transfusions to save her life was tainted with hepatitis C, which attacked her pancreas; because of that, her eyesight has dwindled.

She was also left homeless, basically living on the streets after being released from the Shriner’s Cincinnati Burn Center months after the fire.

Her family also scattered.

Mahmood alleges that after the fire, her father had her brothers transported to Jerusalem, where they spent two years so they couldn’t be questioned abut what happened in Mt. Vernon. Her parents moved to Belleville, along with her sisters.

Mahmood tries to block the fire out of her mind, but that’s not easily done.

“My mind tries to shut it out, but it really can’t. I just don’t know how they got away with this,” Aidah said, speaking of her father, Ike Mahmood, and uncle, Mike Mahmood, whom she alleges tried to kill her by setting her on fire while she was sleeping.

Mt. Vernon Police Detective Ken McElroy, the department’s spokesman for the case, said he also can’t fathom that the two men weren’t arrested, because the evidence was there:

Text Only
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.09.32 PM.png VIDEO: Stars react to Robin Williams' death

    Prior to the premiere of “The Expendables 3” in Los Angeles, several movie stars shared their thoughts on the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • job-fair.jpg Job market tilting toward workers

    The balance of power in the job market is shifting slowly toward employees from employers.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • ruralpoverty.jpg How rural poverty is changing: Your fate is increasingly tied to your town

    The town of Las Animas takes about five minutes to drive through when the one stoplight is blinking yellow, as usual. It's easy to miss but hard to escape. Just ask Frank Martinez.

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dartmouth.jpg Break the college cartel

    Ask liberals why college is getting so expensive, and they'll probably tell you it's a case of government neglect. Ask conservatives the same question, and they'll tell you the opposite.

    August 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 3.43.11 PM.png Your brain helps you judge a face before you even see it

    In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers report that the amygdala — a part of the brain associated with decision making, memory and emotion — plays a part in telling us who to trust almost instantly.

    August 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140805-AMX-PORK5.jpg 'Baconholics' undeterred by 30-year high pork prices

    With images of pigs and barbecued meats tattooed on his left calf, Brian Polak is doing what he can to cope with the highest price of bacon in three decades. The 41-year-old self-proclaimed "baconholic" now often cures his own at home to help reduce costs.

    August 5, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates