Virginia police explain lack of hate crime probe

Gladys Abbott
June 20, 2017

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, was in his auto when he got into a dispute with the girl and a group of her friends before dawn on Sunday in Sterling, Virginia, about 30 miles (50 km) outside Washington, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

"Our investigation at this point does not indicate the victim was targeted because of her race or religion", Fairfax County Police officials said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Hassanen was reported missing on Sunday after she and a group of friends had visited an IHOP restaurant in Sterling to end their daily fast for the holy month of Ramadan, said The Washington Post, and they said they were walking back when the motorist confronted them. All of the teens but one ran to the mosque, where the group reported that one girl had been left behind.

During an intense search for the missing girl on Sunday, an officer stopped a suspicious auto.

At about 3pm on Sunday (local time), the remains of a female believed to be Hassanen were found in a pond in Sterling, police said. They arrested Torres during the search after noticing him driving suspiciously and allegedly finding several items of evidence in his vehicle, police said.

"Community members" saw the teenagers "and directed them to ADAMS Center", the faith organization said in their statement.

"My daughter is dead, and I don't want anyone to feel what I feel, to lose your 17-year-old daughter ..."

Isra Chaker, a person who said in a Facebook post that she was close to a family friend of the victim in the Virginia incident, said the driver came out with a baseball bat and began swinging it at the girls, Chaker said.

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The Fairfax County police also said they were not investigating the incident as a hate crime. The crime, which coincided with the van attack against Muslim worshippers in London, captured the attention of Muslim Americans at a time when hate crime has been on the rise.

"I think it had to do with the way she was dressed and the fact that she's Muslim", Gazzar said. Police said they do not yet know why the suspect was so enraged, but that there is no indication that he had any particular bias against Muslims.

A bat was found near the scene, reports CBS affiliate WUSA-TV.

After hours of searching, the police found Hussein's remains in a pond near Ridgetop Circle in Sterling, Virginia.

ADAMS is one of the largest mosques in the country, and is particularly busy during Ramadan.

The girl's father, Mohmoud Hassanen Aboras of Reston says he doesn't understand that, because his daughter, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, was a friend to everyone. It said the society was enlisting licensed counsellors to assist anyone in need. Muslims are now celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.

Law enforcement in Fairfax County, Va. declared Sunday night that a fatal attack against a 17-year-old Muslim girl will not be investigated as a hate crime.

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