The ex-husband of an American woman killed in the United Arab Emirates said he was shocked by her fatal stabbing, but said he still feels safe there.
“I’m totally horrified by what happened,” Paul Ryan said.
“One just needs to look at the video, the images of that bathroom, and it knocks you out. It knocks you out,” he said. “I still hope my children have not seen that, those beautiful children, I have to make sure … I protect them as best I can.”
A veiled woman attacked Ibolya Ryan, 47, on Monday in a restroom of a high-end mall in Abu Dhabi.
She was killed with a sharp object during a fight in the women’s restroom, local authorities said.
Police later arrested a female Emirati national of Yemeni descent, whom they described as a suspect.
Paul Ryan arrived in Abu Dhabi last week to be reunited with his 11-year-old twin boys. He said he plans to move them to the United States, where they used to live. He and his 13-year-old daughter, who currently live in Vienna, Austria, will join them.
Though they plan to leave in January, he said, he is not worried about any dangers.
“I’m still fearful of all of that,” he said, referring to his ex-wife’s attack. “However, I have come to feel it is quite different. I’m starting to believe what my ex-wife was always telling me — that it’s safe.”
‘They are treating me like family now’
Ryan said the the nation’s authorities have gone out of their way to ensure his family is taken care of, and have offered to pay for the three children’s education through college.
“They are treating me like family now,” he said. “They have expressed almost precisely in these terms, the children will not have to worry about their education, for their entire education basically.”
Ryan has the power to commute the death sentence and grant a pardon if the suspect is found guilty and handed capital punishment.
The burden weighs heavily on him, he said.
“I can’t believe I have the power to pardon, that is shocking to me. I don’t want this responsibility,” he said. “As far as I can tell, it seems pretty damning evidence and she (the suspect) confessed herself. Ibolya, my dear ex-wife, and I do mean that, will not have died in vain.”
Ibolya Ryan was born in Romania and held Hungarian and American citizenship. She had been a teacher for 17 years, according to a Footprints Recruiting profile of her.
Paul Ryan has created a Facebook page to honor his ex-wife’s memory.
In September last year, Ibolya Ryan began teaching in Abu Dhabi, where she lived with her children. Before that, she taught special education in her ex-husband’s native Colorado.
Surveillance video released by police shows the moments before and after the mall stabbing.
A veiled figure police identified as the attacker walks calmly through a parking lot entrance, speaks to security guards and picks up a paper before disappearing around the corner out of sight.
The video later shows the suspect running to an elevator and leaving the mall through the same parking lot doors.
Reem Island, where the attack occurred, is a newly developed area popular with expatriates in the capital.
The motive of the killing was unclear.