NYPD: Stalker flew internationally to PDX with plot to kill

NYPD: Tolga Safer Yilmaz sent 10,000+ emails that threatened violence

Tolga Safer Yilmaz, May 18, 2016 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Tolga Safer Yilmaz, May 18, 2016 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Authorities arrested a 31-year-old man moments after his international flight from Istanbul touched down at Portland International Airport for allegedly stalking his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tolga Safer Yilmaz was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. The United States Marshals Service has a federal hold on Yilmaz. It is expected he will appear in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

According to a federal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, by an NYPD Detective assigned to the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, Yilmaz had been stalking his former girlfriend for nearly seven years.

Case Synopsis

— Tolga Yilmaz, woman met in Portland in 2008
— Dated for about a year
— In 2010, Yilmaz signed a no-contact order
— In 2010, the woman moved to NYC
— She was harassed between 2010-2016
— Yilmaz sent 10,694 emails
— Yilmaz sent 379 emails in one day in 2014
— Many threatened to kill her
— May 13, 2016, Yilmaz sent ‘I will kill you’ note
— NYC detectives learned he was flying to PDX
— Arrested upon landing at PDX

The federal complaint alleges that Yilmaz was enrolled as an undergraduate student in 2008 in Portland when he met a female student. The woman and Yilmaz started dating off and on for about a year. The relationship began in their spring semester in 2008.

The college where Yilmaz and the victim attended was not disclosed in federal court documents.

By 2009, Yilmaz was no longer enrolled in the college. The federal complaint alleges that he began harassing the victim by calling her professors and falsely accusing her of academic misconduct. In May 2010, Yilmaz signed a no-contact agreement that required him to not contact the victim in person or by phone or email, according to court documents.

In 2010, the victim successfully completed her undergraduate studies and moved to New York where she enrolled in a doctorate program at an undisclosed university, according to the complaint.

Between 2010 and April 2016, Yilmaz continued to harass the woman “primarily through unremitting electronic communications,” NYPD Detective Jose Morales wrote in his affidavit for an arrest warrant. The emails made false allegations about the woman and included threats of violence. Yilmaz is accused of sending the emails to university professors, administrators, and family and friends of the victim.

Yilmaz is accused of sending approximately 10,694 emails to people associated with the university. The woman was copied on many of the emails, according to the federal complaint. On Jan. 25, 2014, Yilmaz sent approximately 379. “Nearly all of the emails harassed or threatened (the victim),” Morales wrote.

Yilmaz used over 30 different email addresses to send his emails, according to the complaint. One of the email accounts was used to send emails to an unidentified person. Yilmaz provided the person with his country of citizenship, his date of birth, and his passport information, “presumably so that (the individual) would purchase a flight for the email sender,” Morales wrote.

Some of the emails that Yilmaz sent to the university included the subject line “I will kill [victim’s name],” according to the complaint. By Nov. 2015, Yilmaz started using the email address “iwillkill[victim’s name]@[provider].com.”

Other allegations include:

  • Yilmaz sent an email to the victim on April 10, 2014 with the subject line: “I AM GOING TO KILL YOU FOR CALLING ME WEAK!” The body of the email read: “THAT POLICE REPORT CANNOT STOP ME! YOU WILL SEE!”
  • Yilmaz sent an email to the victim and university on April 19, 2015 that read: “[Victim] will not get to die of natural causes as long as I am alive.”
  • Yilmaz sent an email to the victim and university on August 22, 2015 that read: “I am going to kill that piece of [redacted] if she does not apologize to me for [victim’s] attacks on my dignity and [victim’s] manipulations. I’m going to slice [victim’s] body with the same cold-bloodedness as [victim.] [She’s] not safe from me.”

The emails continued and the threats of violence and death increased, according to the complaint.

On May 13, 2016 an email was sent to the victim’s work email with the subject line “I know where you work now.” The content of the email read: “See you soon.” There was a photograph of the victim and a photo that appears to be of a building in New York.

Morales learned that an individual would be flying into Portland using the name “Safer Tolga Yilmaz.” The flight would land on May 17 at Portland International Airport from Istanbul via Amsterdam. The person who made the flight reservation under “Safer Tolga Yilmaz” used the same personal identifying information as “Tolga Safer Yilmaz,” the suspect, according to the complaint.

Investigators also discovered “Safer Tolga Yilmaz” has a flight scheduled to depart the United States from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The flight will depart JFK on Aug. 2, 2016 and will go directly to Istanbul.

Yilmaz is being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center. He is expected to appear before Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta in Portland on Thursday afternoon.

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