In the days after his twin's disappearance, police say, Wael Ali led searchers to within feet of his brother's body, telling them he felt "something was wrong there."
Whether police suspect that Ali wanted his friends to find his dead brother or whether they think he was merely trying to cover his tracks is unknown, but the detail is one of several revealed in court documents that charge Ali with first-degree murder in the 2007 killing of his twin brother, Wasel. The documents were made public Friday after Ali was extradited from Georgia to stand trial in Howard County.
Despite coming close, no one searched the dirt path where Wasel Ali's body lay until Aug. 27, 2007, five days after his disappearance. Investigators determined that he died after being put in a chokehold that crushed his neck.
In the documents, police also chronicle Wael Ali's movements the day of the killing, Aug. 22; they determined that there were 25 minutes he could not account for — plenty of time, they say, to kill his brother.
The documents do not reveal why it took four years for charges to be filed, and they do not identify new developments in the case. The documents state that Ali repeatedly changed his story when investigators pointed out inconsistencies, and he told them he was upset with his brother over a variety of issues.
"There was no one piece of evidence that resulted in the charges," Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said Friday.
She said that cold-case detectives, who have had the case for more than a year, reinterviewed people and continued to investigate. She said she could not say whether investigators received any new information.
A spokesman for the Howard County state's attorney's office declined to comment on the case.
The documents describe several troubled months for the brothers, during which they were booted out of the Army, placed on probation for stealing Army property and suspected of impersonating military police.
Police originally searched the family's home as part of an investigation into a stolen handgun and an incident in which the twins were accused of impersonating military police in Arlington, Va. Afterwards, Wasel Ali was fired from his job at the Banana Republic store at The Mall in Columbia after he was accused of stealing. According to police, Wasel implicated Wael in the theft scheme.
Wasel Ali was reported missing that day, four hours after he was last seen on mall surveillance video.
The charging documents reveal that after driving from the mall that day, Wael Ali used his cellphone to call Wasel's girlfriend in Virginia. He didn't speak with her, but "told her later that he was calling to tell her that his brother was missing, even through the two had left the mall just 25 minutes earlier," police wrote. He called her nine times over the next 40 minutes, police allege.
An hour after leaving the mall, Wael Ali was at friend's home "freaking out and crying over his brother being missing," police wrote. But according to police, using mall security tapes and phone records, they can't account for about 25 minutes of that hour. And friends told police that Ali's behavior — crying and worrying about his twin — was unusual.
Police say the brothers' friends also told them that Wael Ali was the more aggressive of the twins, and the more likely to lose his temper. As children, the brothers hung out in the remote area where the body was later found, according to the charging documents.
Wael Ali is expected to have a bail hearing Monday. He was extradited Thursday from Georgia on a first-degree murder charge, and was jailed without bond in Howard County.