Former UT-Austin student died by suicide after killing family members

Tori Duff

Trigger Warning: This story contains details of a suicide and descriptions of suicidal thoughts and ideology. This story also discusses depression, self-harm, mental illness and gun violence.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Police found a family of six dead in their home in Allen, Texas, on Monday as authorities responded to an alarming social media letter posted by Farhan Towhid, a member of the family and former UT-Austin student, stating he and his brother were responsible for the deaths.

The letter contained multiple pages explaining how former computer science sophomore Farhan Towhid and his brother Tanvir Towhid had made a plan over the last month to shoot their family and themselves as part of a murder-suicide pact. Farhan said in the letter that he and his brother had been suffering from severe depression for many years.

Allen Police Department Sgt. Jon Felty said the deaths occurred on Saturday, according to forensic evidence. On Monday around 1 a.m., police entered the Towhid home to find the bodies of Farhan, Tanvir, their father Towhidul Islam, their mother Iren Islam, their grandmother Altafun Nessa and Farhan’s twin sister Farbin Towhid.

Farhan voluntarily withdrew his enrollment from UT and checked out of his residence hall at the beginning of the year, said University spokesperson Eliska Padilla. But Farhan wrote in his suicide letter that after he disclosed intense feelings of depression a roommate, the University evicted him from the dorm.

While planning his family’s death, Farhan said in the note that he and his brother thought getting the two guns would be difficult, but they were able to easily purchase them.

In his letter, Farhan said his depression had prevented him from being able to accomplish basic tasks and succeed in school. During winter break, he said in the note, he tried to reinvest himself in computer programming, but he felt apathetic towards everything.

In the letter, Farhan said Tanvir approached him on Feb. 21 with the proposition of the murder-suicide pact. The brothers wanted to kill their family so that they did not have to endure the pain of their deaths, according to the note.

The University has no record of a report about Farhan to the Behavior Concerns Advice Line or a police report to the University of Texas Police Department, Padilla said.

“The news of this story is devastating, and we express our deepest sympathies to the extended family and friends of Farhan Towhid,” the University said in a statement to The Daily Texan. “The University takes mental health concerns very seriously and has a comprehensive approach to provide supportive services.”

To report concerning behavior or ask for advice, students can call the Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line (BCCAL) at 512-232-5050.

Students can also contact The Counseling and Mental Health Center for support. For after-hours emergencies, students can call the CMHC Crisis Line at (512) 471-2255.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Local Austin Integral Care 24-Hour Hotline: (512) 472-4357

Tarrant County (Dallas Fort-Worth Area) ICare Crisis Line: (817) 335-3022 (local) and 1-(800) 866-2465 (toll-free)

Crisis Intervention of Houston Hotline: (832) 416-1177

El Paso Emergence Health Network Crisis Hotline: (915) 779-1800