CLEVELAND (CBS Cleveland) — A dying Cleveland girl who nearly saw her final wish come true after her community raised $120,000 for her instead fell victim to an alleged cold-hearted crook accused of taking every penny.
Sabreen Haq was 14 when she passed away from an inoperable brain tumor last year. Her dying wish was to move out of the cramped confines of the apartment her family lived in so she could pass on in the comfort of her very own bedroom.
Her Rocky River community was so touched by her story they raised $120,000 to grant her wish.
The family made a mistake, however, when they gave the money to a cousin, Hamza Abuhamdeh, to purchase the home where Sabreen could live out her last few months.
Abuhamdeh, 36, did in fact buy a house – but he wound up renting it to someone else. Now he’s being charged with three counts of theft.
Sabreen died in her tiny apartment, living her final days in her bed in the living room.
CBS affiliate WOIO tracked down the man they’re calling the “smug thug” and his response was as cold as his crime. An Action 19 News confronted Abuhamdeh and asked him what he was thinking.
“Of what?” he responded with a grin. “Ask my lawyer. He can give you information.”
When asked again what he was thinking, his response: “Nothing.”
And when the reporter mentioned that he stole the wish of a dying girl? “We’re all gonna die,” he said.
Sabreen’s family told the station that the girl’s mother was angry and cried when shown video of the suspect’s response.
“It was rude, chewing his gum and smiling at us like he doesn’t care,” said Yasmin Suleiman, Sabreen’s sister. “It was hard for me to watch her not get her wish.”
Abuhamdeh claims he is repaying the family back the money — $100,000 so far and $20,000 still to come. The girl’s mother said she plans on using the money to help other sick children, since it’s too late to help her daughter.
Abuhamdeh said he wished that every child got to have his or her wishes come true. The reporter asked Abuhamdeh if Sabreenn ever got to live in the house that she so wished for.
“She [lives] in a better house now,” he coldly responded.
Action 19 News dug deeper and discovered what else they believe Abuhamdeh may have done with the money. Click here for that story.