US Muslim Teen Abducted, Killed After Leaving Mosque in Virginia
The suspect has been charged with murder.
A 17-year-old American Muslim girl was first abducted after leaving a mosque in Virginia on Sunday then beaten by a man, who police later arrested on suspicion of murder, after her body was found dumped in a pond, authorities said.
The attack spurred an outpouring of grief and horror in the Muslim community that has been gathering to pray at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque, about 30 miles outside Washington, in observance of the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The attack happened early on Sunday after the victim, Nabra Hassanen, and several friends while walking outside the mosque got into a dispute with a motorist in the community of Sterling, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement.
At one point, the motorist got out of his car and assaulted the girl, police said.
The teen was reported missing by her friends, who scattered during the attack and could not find her afterwards, touching off an hours-long search by authorities in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Around 3 pm, the remains of a female – believed to be the teen victim – were found in a pond in Sterling, police said.
During the search, authorities stopped a motorist "driving suspiciously in the area" and arrested the driver, later identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22.
Police obtained a murder warrant that charges Torres for her death, the Fairfax County Police Department said.
A police spokeswoman told reporters the attack followed some sort of dispute between the man and the girls and authorities had not ruled out hate as a motive behind the attack.
The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States jumped 57 percent in 2016 to 2,213, up from 1,409 in 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said in a report last month.
While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
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.
She then went missing (presumably kidnapped/moved by the suspect) and was found dead this afternoon.
An online fundraiser for the girl's family had raised $61,606 by Sunday evening.
Police said a medical examiner will carry out an autopsy to confirm the victim's identity and cause of death, though detectives believe the body found in the pond was the missing girl. Police also confirmed that Torres has been charged with murder.
The mosque issued a statement after the incident.
(With Reuters inputs)
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