Refugee mother remembers her 3-year-old daughter
Outside of Bifituu Kadir’s tiny apartment, a small mountain of flowers has materialized, tokens from well-wishers. There are lilies and roses, mums, daisies, baby's breath. A card on one bouquet reads, “YOUR COMMUNITY LOVES YOU!”
Inside, the drapes are drawn. Kadir sits, surrounded by friends and neighbors, grieving for her only child. Ruya Kadir was attacked during her third birthday party, her stab wounds so deep and serious that she was airlifted to Salt Lake City for medical care she could not get in Boise.
That’s where the little girl who loved school and swimming, riding her bike and shopping at Albertsons, died on Monday. On the list of charges filed against Timmy Earl Kinner Jr., the first one is for Ruya: murder in the first degree.
Kadir, a 32-year-old refugee from Ethiopia, wants you to know one thing.
“I want justice for my daughter,” she said through an interpreter, her neighbor Sisna, who requested that her last name not be used.
Sisna held Kadir’s hand as the grieving woman talked about the child she lost. “I want everybody to stand with me. I want the prosecutor to seek the death penalty.”
According to police, a neighbor of Kadir’s in the Wylie Street Station Apartments off State Street allowed Kinner to stay in her apartment, not knowing that the 30-year-old Los Angeles transplant had a long rap sheet, complete with violent crimes and stints in prison.
Sometime last week, that neighbor asked Kinner to leave, police said. On Saturday, he came back with a knife.
Kadir had decorated their apartment for Ruya’s big day. She attached a long white banner with “Happy Birthday” in a rainbow’s worth of colored letters. Pictures of Disney princesses adorned the wall, Ariel with her mermaid’s tail, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Rapunzel, Cinderella.
Ruya sparkled in a shiny white costume, rich with synthetic brocade and bright plastic jewels. A matching crown with a fluffy white plume perched on her dark hair during the party. On Tuesday, Kadir clutched that crown to her chest and would not let it go.
“I order for her two cakes,” Kadir said in the semi darkness of her hushed apartment. “The one is Barbie cake. The other is with a picture with me and with her dad. When she cutting the cake, she is happy.”
Kadir paused. Talking about her little girl, she flipped back and forth between past tense and present tense, as if trying out the terrible idea that she will never again see her daughter's smile or hear her laughter.
“She is my family,” Kadir said. “She liked me too much. She liked her dad. She is smart, my daughter, everything she know. She is go to school. She like to swim. She like to drive bike.”
During his bloody rampage through the neatly tended apartment complex, with its cream-colored siding and green trim, playground equipment and raised garden beds, the attacker stabbed eight other people. Some attended the party, others were simply neighbors. Three adults and three children remained hospitalized Tuesday. Two children have been discharged.
Kinner was arraigned Monday on eight counts of felony aggravated battery in addition to the murder charge. He could face additional prison time for the use of a deadly weapon. He remains in the Ada County Jail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16. It is unknown whether Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts will ask for the death penalty; she did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Kadir, whom the International Rescue Committee said arrived in the United States in December, 2015, has yet to plan her daughter’s funeral. She wants her husband to be here. He is in Turkey waiting for a visa to travel to the United States.
“My kid died here, alone, without her father,” Kadir said. “I want her dad to see her one last time. He is not here right now. I want him to come here and attend the funeral.”
Sisna, her neighbor, choked up as she translated. Regained her composure. And continued on Kadir's behalf.
“The most important thing is for the visa,” Kadir said. “But he also needs support – for the ticket.
“My kid would rest if he comes.”