Carjack death leaves 'void and emptiness' Family focuses on 'good things' victim Basu did

September 17, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Biswanath "Steve" Basu spoke yesterday of an overwhelming "void and emptiness" in his life since his wife, Pam, was killed last week in a brutal carjacking.

Accompanied by other family members, who also spoke publicly of their grief for the first time, Mr. Basu's comments humanized a crime that has struck a chord of horror across the nation.

"All I know is that I have to live and have to do the things Pam would have wanted for [their daughter] Sarina. . . . Beyond that, I can't imagine," Mr. Basu said at a news conference called by the family at the Savage library, blocks from the Basu home.

The family members said they decided to speak to reporters in response to the deluge of interview requests from local and national news organizations.

Mr. Basu was accompanied by his brother, Manus Basu, and his wife's sister, Nita Seelinger.

The family brought a portrait of Dr. Basu and a collage of family photos of the Basus and 22-month-old Sarina.

"With Sarina, our life was complete," Mr. Basu said in a halting voice. "Pam was the stability in our family. . . . I haven't been able to focus on anything since Tuesday."

Mrs. Seelinger spoke of her sister's determination to become a mother when she learned that she was unable to have children.

"Pam focused all her attentions and energies on starting a family," she said.

The Basus adopted Sarina from India in November 1990 after a long bureaucratic struggle.

Dr. Basu, a senior chemist at W. R. Grace and Co., was taking Sarina to her first day of nursery school Sept. 8 when she was forced from her car by two men at a stop sign near her home. The abductors drove off, and Dr. Basu was dragged along Gorman Road for nearly two miles with her arm caught in a seat belt strap.

The crime has received national attention and has prompted state and federal officials to call for stiff penalties for carjacking. The family would not comment on the prosecution of the two men charged in the crime.

The Basu family, meanwhile, is trying to get through each day and remember the good that Dr. Basu accomplished.

Mrs. Seelinger described her sister's life as a "big happy smile spread across the entire family."

The youngest of four sisters, Dr. Basu was an award-winning chemist who did pioneering research in the field of controlling automobile pollution.

"A brilliant and creative mind with a passion for work is but one way to describe Pam," said Mrs. Seelinger.

The Basus' neighbors in Savage have been available round-the-clock for the past week, preparing meals, running errands and offering comfort.

Cassie Puls, the Howard County Police Department's victim-assistance coordinator, said thousands of dollars have been donated to the Sarina Basu trust fund.

Sarina is being cared for by Dr. Basu's parents.

Mr. Basu said he plans to continue living in Savage for the time being. He wants Sarina to know the home that his wife created.

"The only thing I know strongly is that there were so many good things that Pam did in her life, not just for me and Sarina, but in her work," Mr. Basu said.

"I continue to believe that many good things will come out of this."

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