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17-year-old Muslim girl assaulted and killed after leaving Virginia

Posted by on Jun. 18, 2017 at 10:59 PM
  • 103 Replies


Officials: 17-year-old Muslim girl assaulted and killed after leaving Virginia mosque

Police found remains Sunday thought to be those of a missing teenager who they say was assaulted and disappeared overnight after leaving a mosque in the Sterling area, and a 22-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the case.

The mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, identified the girl Sunday as 17-year-old Nabra; her last name was not given. Fairfax County police identified the man charged with murder in the case as Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling.

According to accounts from police and a mosque official, a group of four or five teens were walking back from breakfast at IHOP early Sunday when they were confronted by a motorist. All but one of the teens ran back to the mosque, where the group reported that the girl had been left behind, according to Deputy Aleksandra Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

“Immediately thereafter, the ADAMS’ personnel notified both Loudon County and Fairfax County authorities who immediately began an extensive search to locate the missing girl,” the mosque said in a statement.

Loudoun and Fairfax police jointly conducted an hours-long search around Dranesville Road and Woodson Drive in Herndon, in Fairfax County. Remains thought to be the girl were found about 3 p.m. Sunday in a pond in the 21500 block of Ridegtop Circle in Sterling. During the search, an officer spotted a motorist driving suspiciously in the area and arrested Torres, police said.

Police said they collected several articles of evidence but declined to provide further details.

“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,” Loudoun County Sheriff Michael L. Chapman said.

A possible hate-crime motivation is among the things authorities are investigating, police said. WRC-TV reported that a baseball bat was recovered in the area — information that could not be independently confirmed. Detectives think the remains are those of the girl, but the chief medical examiner’s office will confirm the identity and manner of death, Fairfax police spokeswoman Tawny Wright said.

Shoyeb Hassan, the co-chair of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, said that during the last 10 days of Ramadan, the mosque has extra prayers at midnight and 2 a.m., and members frequently go to McDonald’s or the 24-hour IHOP to eat before they start their fast at sunrise, as Nabra and her friends were doing.

The killing rattled a Muslim community in the midst of celebrating Ramadan, a month of religious observance in which adherents fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. The period culminates in the feast-like celebration Eid-al-Fitr, which is expected to fall next weekend.

“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.”

ADAMS is Northern Virginia’s largest mosque, and with 11 chapters around the District and Northern Virginia is among the nation’s most well-known congregations. According to ADAMS’s website, the Sterling location is 25,000 square feet and can accommodate more than 700 people. It includes a youth weekend school, a gymnasium and multipurpose hall, the site says.

Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer and commentator, said that he and his wife were at the mosque for evening prayers, which ended around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. As they were pulling out of the parking lot, he said, he saw a group of teenagers congregating and talking loudly about going to out to eat. The girls, he said, were wearing the abaya, full-length dress many Muslim women wear.

Police have not said that the slaying was a hate crime, but the issue was on the minds of many Muslims.

The ADAMS Center has a paid armed security guard at the Sterling center, according to Iftikhar. He said many mosques have beefed up security since six Muslim worshipers were killed at a mosque in Quebec earlier this year.

Nabra’s slaying sent a chill through the Muslim community when news spread Sunday.

“People are petrified, especially people who have young Muslim daughters,” Iftikhar said.

Virginia officials condemned the killing Sunday night and expressed condolences to Nabra’s family.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said he and his wife Pam were “deeply disturbed” by the girl’s assault and murder.

“There is absolutely no place for this kind of violence in our Commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “Every Virginian should feel safe and welcome in our communities, and no parent should ever have to experience such a heartbreaking tragedy. As the police investigation continues, I urge all Virginians to keep Nabra’s friends and family in their hearts.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring echoed Northam, urging Virginians to show compassion and kindness in the wake of the killing.

“The ADAMS Center has always welcomed me and so many in Northern Virginia like family,” Herring said. “This unspeakable attack feels like an assault on our entire community. Words fail at a time like this, so we’ll all have to do the best we can to surround them with the love and support they’ve always shown each of us.”

On a crowdfunding page to support Nabra’s family, donations surged Sunday night, jumping from $10,000 to nearly $18,000 in less than an hour. Shortly before 10 p.m., the fundraising page had met its $25,000 goal.


by on Jun. 18, 2017 at 10:59 PM
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Replies (1-10):
nb34
by Platinum Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:01 PM
1 mom liked this

I am not sure if this was a hate crime or not, but either way it was a tragedy for her, and her family.

billsfan1104
by Ruby Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:08 PM
3 moms liked this
It is very very sad for this family. How heartbreaking.
To me, it doesn't sound like a hate crime. It sounds like a random act of violence.
SeanandNoahsmom
by Silver Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:10 PM
3 moms liked this
That is tragic. May justice be served and her family find peace.
mommytoeandb
by Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:11 PM
That is so very sad.
zandhmom2
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:13 PM
7 moms liked this

I'm having a hard time understanding this. Why did all of her friends run off and leave her alone on the street at 4am with some guy yelling at them? I wonder if she knew him.

niceandhappy
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2017 at 11:37 PM
6 moms liked this

Even the police haven't called it a hate crime yet. Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant girls get killed every day. Not all murders are racially or politically motivated. You sound like you have a psychosis yourself.

Quoting UnoDuoTres:

It woulnd't sound like a hate crime to you - the victim was a Muslim girl.

You need to get help for your psychosis.

Quoting billsfan1104: It is very very sad for this family. How heartbreaking. To me, it doesn't sound like a hate crime. It sounds like a random act of violence.



EireLass
by Ruby Member on Jun. 19, 2017 at 12:07 AM
3 moms liked this

Are you also going to say that to the other person who answered the same?

Quoting UnoDuoTres:

It woulnd't sound like a hate crime to you - the victim was a Muslim girl.

You need to get help for your psychosis.

Quoting billsfan1104: It is very very sad for this family. How heartbreaking. To me, it doesn't sound like a hate crime. It sounds like a random act of violence.



ILive4This
by Silver Member on Jun. 19, 2017 at 6:43 AM
Heartbreaking
Bookwormy
by Ruby Member on Jun. 19, 2017 at 6:51 AM
2 moms liked this
This is simply awful.

I can't imagine abandoning my friend.

If this is read in context of the terrorist act against the Muslim community in London, it seems like maybe no matter how it is charged, it may have been an act of terrorism here as well. One of the things that leads to that thought is that the girls were dressed clearly in distinctive Muslim clothing. Certainly the murderer knew his victim's religion, for sure. Maybe that wasn't the murderer's intent, but after London, one really needs to wonder.
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