6.19.2017

Muslim teen abducted, assaulted and murdered in Virginia

Darwin Torres is accused of killing 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen with a baseball bat.



In Virginia, a Muslim teenage girl who was reportedly assaulted and disappeared has been found dead, and a 22-year-old man has been charged in her murder in connection with the case.

Teen Missing in Fairfax County Believed Dead; Suspect Charged: Police

Police believe a body found Sunday afternoon in a pond in Sterling is 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, who was reported missing after she and some friends got into an altercation with a motorist near their mosque.

According to police, a group of girls was walking back from breakfast at IHOP early Sunday when they got into a dispute with a motorist -- witnesses say he appeared to be drunk and was brandishing a baseball bat -- who got out of his car and assaulted one of them. The rest of the teens ran back to their mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), where the group reported that Hassanen had been left behind.

"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.

Police searched the surrounding wooded area for several hours, and found the body in the pond, located about two to three miles away from where the original altercation happened.



During the search, police noticed a car driving suspiciously in the area and stopped it, arresting the driver, who was taken into custody and identified as Darwin Martinez Torres. He has been charged with murder.

The exact cause of death has not yet been officially determined, but Hassanen's mother said detectives told her that Nabra was struck with a metal bat. A baseball bat was reportedly recovered near the body.

Authorities say they're investigating to determine whether or not it was a hate crime.

"At this point, there doesn't seem to be indication this was a bias incident," Fairfax County Officer Tawny Wright said in a news conference. "It looks like they got into a dispute over something."

"We call on law enforcement to investigate and determine the motive of this crime and prosecute to the full extent of the law," the ADAMS Center statement said.

While yes, police are currently saying there's no indication that this was bias incident, I have a really hard time believing this. In this troubling era of intolerance and hate-filled rhetoric, when innocent Muslim, Sikh, Middle Eastern and South Asians communities -- and, frankly, anyone who looks "brown" -- live in fear of violence, is it really difficult to imagine that Nabra was killed by a racist with a baseball bat? Pardon me if I make the leap.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but this week marks the 35th anniversary of Vincent Chin's murder. (Google it.) He was killed -- beaten to death with a fucking baseball bat -- by two white men who violently equated his Asian identity with everything that was wrong with their industry, their city, their country. Three and a half decades later, the names and faces change, but the story's the same.

But right now, all I can think about is how terrified Nabra must have been in her final moments. And it's gut-wrenching.

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