When Sarah Alotaibi let her son Daniel Yeung and daughter Haya Ambreen Mahmood leave their Rochester home late Sunday night, she took a photo.
Mahmood, 16, whom Alotaibi said “loved” makeup, had just finished her latest canvas on Yueng’s face before they left to see a childhood friend, and Alotaibi wanted to capture it.
“I just thought it was kind of cute, and I took a picture of them both,” she said. “And that was literally the last thing they did, and that’s why they left so late.”
That picture is the last she’ll take of the two.
At 2:45 a.m. in Cannon Falls, the 2013 Kia Soul they were driving northbound on U.S. Highway 52 drifted into the median. The vehicle rolled across the southbound lanes, killing Mahmood, who was not wearing a seat belt, the Minnesota State Patrol said.
Yeung, 22, was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus with life-threatening injuries. Alotaibi said he remains in critical condition.
The funeral for Mahmood is Wednesday, April 7, at the Garden of Eden Cemetery in Burnsville.
“She was really, really selfless. She loved to help people,” Alotaibi said. “She volunteered at food shelters, she volunteered if somebody's family member passed away. She would always be helping with anything. She loved helping with her siblings a lot.”
Along with makeup, Mahmood enjoyed listening to music, Alotaibi said. Her daughter, who was home-schooled, also enjoyed creating artwork, making numerous paintings and drawings.
Skateboarding was also a hobby, one she developed from her older brothers, including Yueng.
A GoFundMe page was started by Mahmood’s aunt and Alotaibi’s sister, Billie Carter, to help pay for the funeral expenses and Yueng's medical fees. After two days, the page has raised over $2,500.
"Haya and I were pretty close. She spent a lot of time at my house with my children," Carter said. "My children grew up more like siblings with her than cousins."
Alotaibi, a single mother, said she hadn’t had a chance to check the page between funeral arrangements, going to the hospital to be with Yeung, and taking care of and consoling her three other children.
“I'm making sure that everybody is emotionally OK. Even if I'm not, I want to make sure that they're getting the attention that they need to calm them,” she said. “Her brother is really having a hard time. My younger daughter doesn't understand.”
Alotaibi will always remember her oldest daughter as someone who was always able to make you smile and be there when you needed her.
“Well, I don't even know how to explain her, because there is nobody like Haya,” Alotaibi said. “She was there for anybody who needed a friend. She was so soft-spoken and supportive.”