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Sister of murdered Ashtabula mother finally arrives in the United States, seeks custody of nephew

Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-04 21:39:09-05

ASHTABULA — It took more than seven months of trying to get Rula al Dulaimi to Ashtabula from Turkey after her younger sister Rand al Dulaimi was found murdered last summer.

“It took petitions, phone calls, letters, begging,” said Kat Loveland, a close friend of Rand’s and now, of Rula’s. A petition that gathered more than 2,300 signatures and an effort that garnered support from elected leaders and county commissioners. Loveland has worked tirelessly to help.

“I had sister who was killed, too,” Loveland said. “I understand how she feels. And it was right. It was the right thing to do.”

Rand, who had no family in the U.S., went missing in July 2018 — her body was later found in Saybrook Township. Her ex-husband Jeffrey Stanley has been charged with her murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

The couple had a 3-year-old son.

He is the reason Rula al Dulaimi has been trying so hard to get to Ashtabula. She arrived from Turkey two weeks ago after getting a U.S. visa.

“I will do anything for him because he is the only thing left to me from my sister. That’s all I want,” al Dulaimi said.

News 5 first reported on the efforts back in August.

But getting here was apparently only half the battle.

In an exclusive interview with reporter Homa Bash, al Dulaimi said she has only spoken to her nephew a handful of times since arriving in the country — and she has yet to see him in person.

“I can’t see my nephew and no one can give me any reason for that,” al Dulaimi said.

Al Dulaimi said she wants to raise Omar, because she believes that is what her sister would have wanted. She said she is willing to do that in Ashtabula, if that is what it takes.

The child is reportedly in the care of Stanley’s sister. Child and Family Services said they are not permitted to release any information about the case.

Rand al Dulaimi's funeral was delayed until December so that Rula al Dulaimi could attend, but her visa had not been approved by that point, so her sister was buried without family present.

“That was so hard for me.”