Shortly before the Apple Valley Police Department released information meant to prove David Crowley was guilty of a double-murder suicide, I was able to ask David’s sister-in-law, Sidrah Alam, some questions about the investigation. Sidrah believed David murdered his wife Komel, his daughter Raniya, and then shot himself. It had been over a year since police found the deceased bodies inside the home at 1051 Ramsdell Drive. There was a time when Sidrah considered alternative views about the deaths of the Crowleys, but that changed when she “saw the facts.” After seeing those facts she knew “the only thing that could change my mind would be if my sister came back and told me herself that David didn’t do this.”
Sidrah did not believe David was suicidal, “But he was obsessed with my sister. I remember [Komel] told me she was done with him and couldn’t do this anymore, a year before all of this happened when she called my dad. I’m sure he started brainwashing her starting there when he realized she could leave him.”
Even though Sidrah didn’t think David was suicidal when she was around him, she still believes he committed suicide, as opposed to being murdered. Sidrah also believed David wrote a suicide note, “The note said to watch his Gray State new version video, and on the bottom it said to submit to Allah now. It was his writing, our family can vouch for that…we didn’t need comparison for the handwriting because we actually knew how he wrote.” The note she is referring to was found on the computer desk in David’s office.
“It’s a suicide note duh?” she responded. “If there was no note then I’d be more suspicious he didn’t do this. Can’t you see it’s a play on words? Terrorists say that they kill in the name of God. This was all done to spin stuff so his movie could get attention ‘cause he couldn’t do it while he was alive.”
Who Died First?
The murder weapon was found next to David’s left hand. Yet in several photos David can be seen firing a weapon with his right hand. Even though David was the one who taught Sidrah how to shoot a gun, she wasn’t sure if David was right-handed or left-handed. We know who died last, if we are to believe the official theory, but who died first? Was it Komel or Raniya?
“The hardest pill to swallow for me and my dad is that [David] probably made Rani watch all of this.” Sidrah was convinced that her sister died before Raniya, “Their bodies were close. So if Rani got shot before Komel their bloods would have mixed, and Komel’s blood is the only one on the wall…Raniya’s blood was nowhere.”
“How can that be?” I asked.
“He didn’t kill her yet.” Sidrah also believes Komel and Rani were “hit in the back” and that David shot himself in the mouth. “Other shots around the house showed he tried to hit the dog but was unsuccessful,” she wrote, “I actually laid down where David’s body was and acted like I had a gun and lifted my hand up like I was trying to shoot an object…it was at the height of the dog.”
“David shot at the dog while he was on the ground?” I asked. “That seems odd.”
“Yeah he was on the ground trying to do some creepy ceremony. Obviously he had lost it.”
“Komel and Rani had a DVD player next to them which makes us believe they were watching a movie and he came from the basement.” The DVD player was later described as the Surface Pro seen in the crime scene photos.
The Surface Pro
“My sister wrote down her feelings on her Surface Pro,” Sidrah explained to me. “If I can get into it I can solve exactly why David did this and put an end to all of these questions everyone has. She had a diary.” Police were able to extract the data from Komel’s Surface Pro but they “didn’t find anything,” according to Sidrah. So what happened to Komel’s diary?
Was anything deleted from Komel’s Surface Pro? Not without the password, Sidrah was told. She doesn’t think police were able to bypass the password screen and gain full access to the device. I told her there is software she could buy to bypass the password and break into the computer. I was a little surprised that police told her they couldn’t get past the password screen of the Surface Pro.
“Police couldn’t without risking losing the information,” Sidrah responded.
Police were eventually able to extract the data from the Surface Pro, according to what Sidrah’s dad told her, “Just talked to my dad. They couldn’t get into the iPhone but they did get into the Surface Pro and they didn’t find anything.” When the Alams retrieved Komel’s possessions from police, the SIM card for Komel’s iPhone was missing. It’s unclear why police removed the SIM card at this time.
Sidrah also told me that David didn’t want Komel talking to the Alams. The image on the Surface Pro shows only Komel and Raniya, “She cut David’s picture on the display. He was right next to her.” The picture was from a 2013 Christmas card the Crowley’s sent out that year, “He’s not even in their Christmas card picture, just [Komel] and Rani.”
The Facts of the Official Theory
“I saw the fingerprints on the wall. They all matched to his fingerprints. It was just all omitted in the official report because the wall wasn’t supposed to be released, but it accidentally got out.” – Sidrah Alam
I asked Sidrah when she first believed the official theory and why, “When me and my husband and my dad did our own research. When I went to Minnesota it was an eye opener…facts are what made me believe the official story. I just want everyone to know we’re not stupid. We spent countless sleepless nights putting everything together. It would be so much easier to just blame this on someone else rather than David. But sadly he is the reason why my sister and niece aren’t alive today. I honestly was numb in the beginning and didn’t know what to believe until we got facts and did our own research.”
What were these facts she kept talking about? I asked.
“Fingerprint matches on the gun and wall,” Sidrah answered, “handwriting matches on the note, bloody footprint matches around the house, bloody handprints grabbing the cellphone, just all the matches. We saw them all. I don’t know what they wrote in the police report. I never cared to read it.”
“It’s not rocket science Greg,” Sidrah said of the allegations against David. “Once they determined there were no outsiders involved it’s a suicide. It’s that easy.”
“How could they determine that so quickly?” I asked.
“Doors, windows, no other footprints or DNA around the house,” she responded. “They had people come out from the Minneapolis police department bomb squads. It was a terror zone.”
“But they couldn’t find a bullet above their heads?” I asked. “If they missed that who knows what else they may have missed. They were looking for forced entry when a door was open.”
“The door was not open,” she pointed out. The rear slider was found slightly ajar, which qualifies as an open door to me.
“How do you explain David’s bloody fingerprints?” she asked me. The fingerprint matches were instrumental in convincing Sidrah that David was guilty.
“Even if they’re his,” I responded, “it doesn’t prove murder.”
“We saw them and that’s all that matters at the end of the day,” She responded. “How does that not prove murder?”
“It’s not hard to put prints anywhere.”
“Footprints?” she asked.
“To frame someone is pretty easy. Footprints can be cleaned.”
“How do you put bloody feet around the house?” she asked me.
“I’m sure those were his feet,” I agreed, “but bloody footprints do not prove murder either.”
I still did not understand why such a significant part of an active investigation would be withheld from the public, especially when the information could dramatically help police prove their theory that David Crowley “snapped,” causing him to kill his wife, his daughter and then himself.
“With something like this,” Sidrah explained, “we have to deal with a lot of shit back home with our family. We didn’t want it getting attention for stupid reasons…we had to protect ourselves.”
As far as David being guilty, Sidrah assured me, “Trust me when I say it took a lot to realize he did this. We actually knew them. Just try to be in our shoes for a minute. Realize how hard it was to actually admit he did this. Usually family is the one who doesn’t want to believe something like that and others give you a reality check. But we actually believe it so don’t you think that’s saying a lot?”
When I told her I thought there were family members who didn’t believe David was guilty, she said, “They aren’t family then.”
“I pray God guides you in the right direction,” Sidrah wrote to me. “Don’t focus too much in small details. You’ll get yourself tangled in a mess you can’t get out of. I say that from experience. Try to see the bigger picture with a clear mind. Pray about it and then forget about it. God will guide you to the truth. That’s what I did and I’m at peace.”
“The big picture for me,” I responded, “is there is an accusation that was made far too prematurely. One year after being promised we’ll get to the truth, I find I have not. Many things that happened after the murders were strange too.”
“I hope you find what you’re looking for,” Sidrah told me as our conversation came to an end. “My job was to let you know that I have seen it all. I wish I could let everyone see what I have seen from my eyes. But it doesn’t work like that. I pray for you guys to see the light often.”
Sidrah remains convinced, “Gray State died with David. Komel didn’t care for Gray State but she wanted David to pursue his dreams. Therefore she supported what he did, but personally she didn’t really care for it. The only person who wants to push this forward is Danny Mason. No one else. Trust me it’s not gonna go forward. There’s no way it can go forward without my Dad’s permission and they won’t ever get that, unless they wanna deal with legal consequences.”
Is this the end of the Gray State project? The Gray Stage continues…