LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA (The New York Post) – A cold-hearted dad drowned his two severely autistic sons by intentionally driving his family off a California pier for financial gain, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Ali Elmezayen was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the April 9, 2015, pier plunge that killed his boys, Abdelkarim, 8, and Elhassan, 13, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.
Elmezayen, 44, has been in federal custody since November on insurance fraud charges. Prosecutors in that case say he purposely drove his Honda into the Port of Los Angeles to cash in on a $6 million insurance policy he bought two years before the fatal crash.
The insurance fraud trial — in which he has pleaded not guilty — is set to begin Sept. 3 and will be followed by the murder trial.
Investigators said the heartless father purposely barreled off the edge of a commercial fishing dock in San Pedro with his wife and two children inside the vehicle.
His window was open and he surfaced within 30 seconds, swimming to a ladder on the pier.
His wife, Rabab Diab, couldn’t swim but was rescued by a fisherman after coming up from the water screaming, “My kids, my kids,” investigators said.
“The poor lady was screaming hysterically,” said fisherman Ray Prince. “I thought she was going to drown.”
The boys couldn’t swim and died strapped to their seats.
Elmezayen told investigators the crash was a tragic accident. He said he wasn’t sure how his car ended up in the water but that he may have accidentally pressed the gas pedal or that “evil was inside him that caused him to lose his mind,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
Elmezayen reaped more than $260,000 in insurance payouts for the deaths and wired more than $170,000 back to his native Egypt, said prosecutors in the fraud case.
The district attorney had initially declined to bring murder charges because of insufficient evidence.
A police mechanic found that the brake pedal of the Honda didn’t work properly but couldn’t tell whether it was a problem before the fatal crash or because of saltwater corrosion.
Prosecutors said Wednesday the charges were the result of further investigation.