Federal authorities reportedly believe Saudi Arabia helped one of its citizens -- who was charged in the fatal hit-and-run of a 15-year-old Oregon girl -- obtain a passport and flee the United States.
Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah was arrested in August 2016 and indicted for first-degree manslaughter, hit-and-run, reckless endangerment and reckless driving after allegedly killing Fallon Smart in Portland.
On Sept. 11, 2016, Noorah’s $100,000 bond was posted by the consulate of Saudi Arabia, according to court records, and in early June 2017, he removed his monitoring device and vanished. His whereabouts were thought to be unknown until U.S. officials learned from the Saudi government he had returned to the Kingdom, The Oregonian reported Sunday.
“We’re doing everything we can to get him back,” supervisory U.S. Marshal Eric Wahlstrom told The Oregonian. The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.
Noorah had been a student in Portland since 2014 and had been receiving just over $1,800-a-month as a stipend from the Saudi government for living expenses, according to the newspaper. He is from Jeddah and was housed by a host mother.
Noorah was jailed on $1 million bail after the deadly accident and, under Oregon law, a defendant must post at least 10 percent of the bail to be released. The consulate reportedly paid $100,000.
He was then placed into the supervision of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and returned to the Portland house where he had been living. He was allowed to continue going to classes at Portland Community College while his case proceeded but was initially placed under house arrest.
On June 10, Noorah was allowed to study on campus after receiving permission from his release supervisor. Later that afternoon, however, he was picked up in a black GMC Yukon XL and had his monitoring bracelet cut.
It wasn’t until the next evening his release supervisor discovered he was gone. Investigators later discovered a bag packed at the home.
After the U.S. launched an international manhunt for Noorah, the Saudi government reached out to the Department of Homeland Security in July and told officials Noorah returned to Saudi Arabia on June 17.
Federal officials believe Noorah was given a passport with a different identity to help him get out of the U.S., according to The Oregonian.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has on several occasions paid bail for its nationals who've been charged with crimes – including a man accused of rape in Utah in 2015, who also fled and was subsequently convicted, and for a Missouri resident in 2013 who was accused but later acquitted of murdering a bar owner. That same year the government put up $5 million bail for a Saudi princess charged with human trafficking in California, yet those charges, too, were dropped.