UTD students arrested for kidnapping and robbery of elderly couple

Photo Courtesy of Fox 4 News

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Biology senior Jeffrey Stayns Fernando and ITS graduate Akash Tyagi were arrested Nov. 9 as suspects in the kidnapping and robbery of an elderly couple in Midlothian, Texas.

Midlothian Police Department investigators identified and charged Fernando and Tyagi with two counts of aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated robbery, and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity with a deadly weapon. Both are currently being held in Ellis County Jail as of Nov. 11 with a bond of $1,250,000.

According to official media reports by the Midlothian Police Department, on the evening of Oct. 9, Noah Gulzar, Fernando and Tyagi kidnapped a 72-year-old male and a 68-year-old female at gunpoint. Gulzar was a known acquaintance of the couple from a previously undisclosed business venture. The suspects took the couple from their home in the 5000 block of Vernon Point in Midlothian to a rented-out Airbnb located in the 600 block of Priscilla Lane in DeSoto. They proceeded to restrain the victims and attempted to gain access to their online banking accounts and other financial information.

Noah Gulzar. Photo Courtesy of Ellis County Jail

After several hours, the victims escaped their restraints and subdued Gulzar after retrieving a kitchen knife and stabbing him while Tyagi and Fernando were away from the Airbnb. Gulzar sustained knife wounds in both hands and a severe wound in his leg. The victims, who held minor injuries, fled the location to a neighboring residence and called 911. At 9:48 p.m. CST, DeSoto Police Department contacted telecommunicators in the Northern Ellis Emergency Dispatch Center, who then coordinated with MPD to meet with the victims and sent a second investigative unit to the scene of the crime. Gulzar fled before the unit arrived but was later found and arrested Oct. 12. Tyagi and Fernando were arrested a month later.

Gulzar’s relationship to Fernando and Tyagi is unclear — there is currently no known association between Gulzar and UTD. Tyagi was previously a finance assistant for AAVOM Technology Labs from 2018 to 2019 and served as treasurer for UTD’s Nepalese Student Association for the 2022-2023 academic year. It is also unclear if Fernando, a senior, will be allowed to return to campus and resume classes upon posting bail.

The Mercury is investigating further and will release a full report within the coming weeks. We are looking for more information regarding the suspects. If you have any information, please contact editor@utdmercury.com.

Editor’s Note: The bail amount for Tyagi and Fernando has been corrected. It is $1,250,000 for $250,000 per charge.


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  • Hey the bond amount is wrong, its 1.25mil not 250k. Its 250k per charge and there’s 5 charges which is 1.25 mil. Look it up on ellis county jail if you want to cross check. Thanks and Peace!

  • Why would they be returning to class if they post bail? Their list of charges are equivalent to murder essentially and they’ve been totally busted. No—they are not going to be returning to their classes I think. Very likely they are not going to make bail. They have a long, dark prison sentence ahead of them it would seem.

  • No one in his right mind would think he could get away with such a blatant crime. Were the criminal geniuses planning on killing the couple to try? I can’t imagine the terror suffered by the couple.

  • What was the plan had the couple not escaped? To kill them? How could these educated guys go in this direction? Unbelievable.

  • Akash Tyagi stays in Arbors community in Frisco. He has 2 younger siblings. His parents came to USA many years ago chasing the US dream. They both are hardworking indian couple who did their best to provide for their kids. God knows what motivated Akash to do this. His future is sealed forever now, so unfortunate.

    • Clearly you don’t know anything about him… Stop posting fake info if you don’t know him personally. He was set up, truth will take time to come out but it will. He is a great guy, would never do anything like this and anyone who knew him personally can vouch for that.

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