Stolen Brothers: Who Took Basil and Jamal?

Two brothers disappeared, one was found murdered while the other remains missing.

Corey Sobell


Basil Abdul’Faruq (left) and his brother Jamal (right) when outside to play and never returned. (Lipstick Alley)

Tambra Ellis never saw her son’s body. She didn’t want to see Basil Abdul’Faruq in such a state. Furthermore, investigators advised that she refrain from viewing his postmortem pictures.

It should come as no surprise because Basil had suffered a violent death. The boy had been stabbed and suffered a fractured skull. He was bound and gagged with duct tape, stuffed into a trash bag, and thrown into a dumpster. Had it not been for a passing truck driver who noticed his body protruding from the torn plastic, he would be lost forever.
What parent would want to see their fallen child after enduring such cruelty?

Disturbingly, Basil’s fate was not Tambra’s sole source of despair. Her other son, 7-year-old Jamal Abdul’Faruq, was still missing. He and Basil both disappeared on April 16th, 1990, with the latter found dead three days later. Had Jamal suffered the same fate? Or was he still alive? Tambra could only wonder what happened to her children at the hands of whoever took them on that fateful afternoon.

The brothers, although best friends, had different personalities. Basil was an intellectual who loved to study and wasted no time lecturing everyone about his studies. When a family friend once complained about her sore throat, Basil told her about the anatomy of the throat, the esophagus. Jamal, on the other hand, was more playful and social. He was popular among the neighborhood kids.

April 16th, 1990, began as an exhausting day for Tambra. She had worked the night shift at a local factory and hoped to catch up on some sleep. Basil and Jamal had just been dropped off at her apartment by their stepmother after spending some time with their father, Everett. Knowing the boys, peace, and quiet would be hard to come by.

It was spring break, which meant tons of time to play with the neighborhood kids in the Virginia sun. Jamal asked his mother if they could play outside. Tambra said yes. She did not worry about their safety, as the boys always walked to school on their own. Besides, getting them out of the apartment would give her some temporary peace, something she needed…