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