Nabra Hassanen, 17, was walking home from an event in Reston, Va. observing Ramadan with friends when she was assaulted by a motorist, according to The Independent.
While the other teenagers in the group were able to flee and return to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Mosque, Hassanen was left behind. No one was able to find Hassanen when they returned to the scene, leading to a search throughout the entire area by authorities.
Around 3 p.m., a body was found in a pond. An official autopsy hasn’t been conducted, but local reports claim that the body is believed to be Hassanen’s.
Police have arrested a suspect named Darwin Martinez Torres, who was “driving suspiciously in the area” during the search. Torres has since been charged with murder but authorities won’t investigate the assault as a hate crime, according to The Washington Post.
Authorities told Hassanen’s mother that her daughter was hit in the head with a metal bat.
“I can’t think of a worse instance to occur than the loss of a 17-year-old on Father’s Day, as the father of a 17-year-old myself,” Michael Chapman, Sheriff of Loudoun County said.
A crowdfunding page has been set up to support Hassanen’s family and had raised more than $157,000 as of Monday morning.
Shoyeb Hassan, the co-chair of ADAMS, told the Post that the mosque holds extra prayers at midnight and 2 a.m. during the last ten days of Ramadan. Many visitors then go to a nearby McDonalds or IHOP to eat before their fast begins again at sunrise, which is what Hassanen and her friends were doing before they were attacked.
“We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event,” Rizwan Jaka, chairman of ADAMS, said in a statement. “It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth.”
The decision to not investigate the assault, abduction and killing as a hate crime is a curious one for many. Torres’ alleged attack on a group of Muslim teens in the area of a mosque doesn’t seem random on the surface, especially while the number of hate crimes, especially those against Muslims, have been on a steady incline in the past two years.