Source: Iran Times
The 10th annual Sara's Race was held this month in upstate New York in honor of an Iranian-American child who was raped and murdered 20 years ago.
Speaking at the memorial race October 5, in honor of his murdered daughter, Sara, Ahmad Rivazfar said he wanted to help other people who had victimized family members find closure to their own tragedies.
Sara's Race-at Genesee Valley Park south of Rochester, New York-featured a five-kilometer run for adults and a one-kilometer run for children.
In 1988, Sara Rivazfar and her sister Sayeh-six and eight years old respectively-were kidnapped, raped and had their throats slit by their mother's boyfriend, Warfield Raymond Wike Jr.
Against all odds, Sayeh survived and testified against Wike-
who was convicted of murdering Sara and sent to Florida's death row where he died of natural causes July 16, 2004, at the age of 48.
Sara's "always among us as a family. We never forget her," Rivazfar, 52, told The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. "We mark her passing of 20 years by asking people to help solve any crimes."
The race raised money for Rochester Area Crime Stoppers, a local organization that offers money for information about unsolved crimes.
The cause is close to Rivazfar's heart. He said seeing crimes solved helps the victims' families move on.
"Justice is a healing process for a victim and their family," he said.
Today, Sayeh, now 28, is a New York state trooper. Sayeh told The Democrat and Chronicle that it's important for regular citizens to come forward with information about crimes.
"What happened to my family and I, it happens," she said. "We need to help prevent this."
Ahmad Rivazfar is the father of six children. He had three-Sara, Sayeh and a son-with his first wife, Pat Pafford, and three daughters with his second wife.
In 1988, Rivazfar and his first wife divorced in Florida and shared custody of their children-although Ahmad was very concerned that his wife's life style was putting the children in harm's way and his reports to the child protective agencies both in Florida and New York fell on deaf ears.
On the night of September 22, 1988, the mother's boyfriend took the sisters from their home in Pensacola, Florida, drove them to a remote area, raped them, cut their throats and left them to die. Sayeh, then 8 years old, survived; Sara, age six, did not. Sayeh, clutching her throat, stumbled to the nearest highway where a passing couple in a car picked her up and rushed her to a hospital.
Sayeh's riveting testimony helped convict Wike of Sara's murder.
Rivazfar sought full custody of Sayeh and the son, Arash. Rivazfar and his ex-wife fought for years in the courts of New York and Florida. The courts argued over which had jurisdiction. Ahmad Rivazfar finally won.
The two wings of the family are now estranged. Pafford said she didn't know how to reach her daughters to let them know their grandmother died two weeks before Wike.
Before Wike was arrested for rape and murder, he had a criminal record in four states for child abuse, robbery, narcotics possession, assault, criminal mischief and trespassing.
Ahmad Rivazfar, a Home Depot manager, is an active volunteer leader in his community and in the cause for protecting children from abuse and abduction. Each September for the past 10 years, the Rivazfar family has hosted Sara's Race. Money raised helps missing children cases and the Rochester Crime Stoppers, whose board Ahmad has recently joined. Additionally, Rivazfar is a volunteer speaker and advocate for the New York branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
... Payvand News - 10/27/08 ... --