The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Parents of attempted murder suspect, former UI student Ali Younes, charged with aiding in their son’s escape out of the country

Younes’ mother, Lima Younes, was convicted of aiding and abetting escape from custody. The father, Alfred Younes, faces the same charges.
Photo via University of Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Former University of Iowa student Ali Younes is still on the run after fleeing the United States to avoid a criminal trial for charges of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and first-degree theft.

In his absence, Ali Younes’ parents, Lima Khairi Mohammad Younes, 45, and Alfred Ali Mohammad, 49, have been charged with assisting with their son’s escape.

Ali Younes, 20, is accused of tackling a woman on the UI campus in April 2022, choking her to unconsciousness, and stealing her earrings valued at $20,000. He was charged with attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and first-degree theft.

In June 2022, Judge Christopher Bruns of the Sixth Judicial District of Iowa lowered bail for Ali Younes from $350,000 to $125,000. Bruns ordered him upon release to wear a GPS ankle monitor and be on house arrest at the Younes’ home in Sutherland, Iowa, and only be allowed to leave the house to meet with his lawyer or with permission from his parole officer.

According to court documents, Lima Younes and Alfred Younes aided in their son’s escape.

On May 3, the couple sold one of their vehicles for $20,000 and rented a Chrysler Pacifica minivan. On the morning of May 6, the parents — along with Ali Younes, his grandmother, Wafe Najim, and the Youneses’ 17-year-old daughter — departed from their home to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport so their son could fly to Jordan.

Ali Younes was required to surrender his passport upon making bail but was allowed to board the Royal Jordanian Airlines flight using his Jordanian passport. The U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Jordan.

Lima Younes was arrested on May 9 by UI police on a warrant with assistance from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

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Alfred Younes was arrested on May 9 in Omaha, Nebraska, at Eppley Airfield by the Omaha Police Department’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit while attempting to board a flight to Amman, Jordan.

The trial for Lima Younes began on Aug. 1 in the Johnson County District Court. She pleaded not guilty to the charges of escape from custody-felon and aiding and abetting their son to intentionally escape house arrest.

During the two days of testimony, witnesses for the state testified that Lima Younes misled investigators during the initial search for Ali Younes once notified that his ankle monitor was tampered with and that both parents were aware of the serious charges made against their son and of a plea deal that had been offered.

Amanda Ahrenstorff, an Iowa Department of Corrections probation and parole officer, testified she received a notification of Youne’s ankle monitor being cut around 9 a.m. on May 6. She tried calling Younes and his parents but couldn’t contact either party.

Before leaving for the airport, Lima left her phone at the family’s home and Alfred turned his phone off, according to court documents.

Later that day, Lima Younes called Ahrenstorff and claimed Ali was home alone and that the family was returning from Davenport, Iowa. Shortly after Lima’s call, Alfred Younes called Ahrenstorff and left a voicemail, saying his son’s phone had an issue and he could not call her back.

Officers detected Alfred’s cell phone outside Rockford, Illinois, on Highway 20 and headed toward Dubuque from Chicago, according to court documents.

The lawyer for Ali Younes, Patrick McAreavy, also testified that Lima attended pretrial conferences for her son. He told the family that if convicted, Ali faced up to 60 years in prison and offered a plea deal for 35 years for the family to consider.

On Aug. 3, the jury found Lima guilty of aiding and abetting escape from custody after deliberating for over four hours. Her sentencing is set for Sept. 21, where she faces up to five years in prison.

Ali Younes remains a fugitive and a federal and international manhunt has been underway since his escape. The U.S. Marshal Service is the main agency for tracking international fugitives.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.