When Adnan Abbod last saw his best friend and former roommate, Mazen Al-Qaisi had been talking about ending his marriage and was headed home to get some rest, Abbod said. It was Friday evening, April 29.
The next day, Al-Qaisi failed to report for work at Boise’s Cash & Carry store.
On Sunday, May 8, Abbod was already anxious because he hadn’t been able to reach his friend. After a worried Cash & Carry customer told him about Al-Qaisi’s sudden absence from work, Abbod headed over to his friend’s small rental home on West Glen Ellyn Street just off Five Mile Road.
“It’s so quiet; their car is there but there’s no answer,” said Abbod, who previously had lived there. “On the door there is a notice that the rent is past due.”
He drove to the home of his friend’s in-laws but wasn’t able to find out anything. He then called police.
Boise police have said little about what they found when they got into the house that Sunday evening.
Al-Qaisi, 24, and 32-year-old LouAnn Michelle Nettleton, were dead of gunshot wounds. Initial investigations and autopsies showed that Nettleton killed Al-Qaisi and , then herself, police said Monday.
The two had a wedding in a mosque in February but reportedly their marriage was not yet legal because Michelle was still legally married to another man. That man, Ryan Nettleton, said he had filed for divorce but it was not final yet.
Abbod said it appears the couple died on or shortly after the night of April 29. He said he was told Al-Qaisi was in bed when he was shot multiple times.
Police wouldn’t answer questions about those or other details of the crime, saying the apparent murder-suicide is “still an open investigation.” The Ada County Coroner’s Office referred questions about time and manner of death to police.
Al-Qaisi has no family in the United States, said Azad Peshderi, an uncle who lives in London and said he is trying to get an expedited visa to come to Idaho to help with arrangements. Al-Qaisi’s mother, who lives in Iraq, collapsed in shock when she learned of the death and was hospitalized, Abbod said.
Peshderi said his nephew was born and educated in Baghdad, but his parents decided to get their only son out of Iraq because of the upheaval there. Al-Qaisi went first to Turkey as a refugee, then about two years ago came to Boise, where he settled, learned English, found a job and fell in love, Peshderi said.
Although Al-Qaisi’s relatives live far from Idaho, Peshderi said they kept close contact with the couple in Boise through social media and video calls. And Al-Qaisi forged family-strength bonds with Abbod and other Iraqi refugees he met through a resettlement agency in Boise.
“He’s so full of life, this guy,” Abbod said of his friend. “He’s always smiling; he’s so goofy. He worked so hard.”
He said Al-Qaisi had been getting strong positive feedback at work recently and was very happy.
Jason Barclay, Al-Qaisi’s manager at Cash & Carry, said he hired him as a clerk in March 2014, just a few weeks after the refugee moved to Idaho.
“He was very friendly. Most people really liked him really well,” Barclay said. “I considered him a brother, kind of. It was pretty tragic.”
He said he met Nettleton only in passing, but he was uncomfortable with the couple’s relationship, largely because they had been together for just about six months before their wedding.
“I thought they didn’t know each other long enough to get married,” he said. “I thought that was a little strange.”
Abbod said the couple had problems in the weeks before their deaths, and Al-Qaisi had talked about leaving Nettleton.
But he isn’t convinced that Nettleton killed his friend and herself, and he hopes that the continuing investigation reveals a different scenario. Peshderi agrees.
“We are sure that they had problems between themselves as any man and wife, but would that be escalated to killing? We’re not sure of that,” he said via email. “Their death was a complete shock to all of us.”
Barclay was surprised when Al-Qaisi was a no-show for his scheduled Cash & Carry shift April 30. He had never missed work without calling in first.
Al-Qaisi had earlier told Barclay about friends who abruptly moved back to Iraq for family reasons. After he went to Al-Qaisi’s home to check on him and no one came to the door, Barclay said, he assumed his employee had done the same.
He and others who knew Al-Qaisi are still reeling.
“Everybody’s saddened about it,” Barclay said. “We’ll miss him.”
At least six Treasure Valley cases of murder-suicide since 2010
July 1, 2015: Melvin J. Baptie, 70, shot his wife, Karen S. Baptie, 68, and then himself at their Nampa home.
Sept. 20, 2014: Kimberly Smith, 32, died from multiple gunshot wounds at her Meridian home. She was shot by her husband, Kevin Smith, 24, who then killed himself.
May 19, 2011: Andy Davis, 38, shot his 3-year-old daughter, Natasha Echon-Davis, inside a car and then killed himself.
April 4, 2010: Robert Emerson, 87, shot his wife, Olive Emerson, 90, before shooting himself at the couple’s Meridian home. Both Robert and Olive were suffering from cancer.
Feb. 6, 2010: Nicholas Bacon, 20, shot and killed his 8-month-old son, Bekm Bacon, before killing himself at his Meridian home. He had recently separated from his wife and had left her a threatening voice message.
Jan. 28, 2010: Marshall R. Smith, 91, shot his wife, Reva M. Smith, 75, before shooting himself at their Meridian home. Investigators found that Marshall Smith was suffering from dementia.
Compiled by John Sowell