Police are investigating whether 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen — who was beaten, kidnapped, and killed near her Virginia mosque on Sunday — was also raped.
Authorities found the Muslim teen's body in a pond in Loudoun County, Virginia, on Sunday afternoon, a few miles from where police said Darwin Martinez Torres, an undocumented immigrant, allegedly chased and attacked her and about 15 other teenagers after a road rage incident. Police said Torres got out of his car wielding a baseball bat, struck Hassenan, kidnapped her, and killed her before dumping her body.
Given the jurisdictions, Loudoun County Sheriff might be taking over the investigation, which would include rape, said Officer Tawny Wright, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department.
The Daily Beast first reported that the possibility of rape was under investigation, and reported that police found a woman’s pair of underwear near Hassanen's body. Investigators are awaiting vaginal swab test results.
Wright would not confirm those details to BuzzFeed News, but said that officers collected “several articles of evidence” from the scene.
When asked if the 17-year-old was raped, Fairfax County Police Department Lt. Col. Deputy Chief of Police for Administration Tom Ryan said at a Monday evening press conference that there had been two assaults, “one that occurred in Fairfax County and we had another assault that occurred in Loudoun County.”
After a late-night trip to McDonald's, Hassanen and her friends were heading back to their mosque where they had been observing Ramadan early Sunday when a man in a red, beat-up car came up behind them.
One of Hassanen's friends, who was on a bike, got into an argument with the driver, who police identified as Torres. Torres then drove his car over a curb, scattering the group of about 15 boys and girls, police said Monday night. When they regrouped at the All Dallas Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling at around 4 a.m., they realized that Hassanen was missing.
Police in Fairfax, Virginia, found her body in a nearby pond around 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Fairfax County Police
Officers say after Torres — who is in the US illegally, BuzzFeed News has learned — caught up with the fleeing teens in a parking lot, got out of his car and chased them with a baseball bat. He then “simply caught up with Nabra,” striking her with the bat and then forcing her into his car, police said in a press conference Monday night. They say that her death “appears to be the result of a road rage incident.”
Police for the second time stressed that there is no evidence suggest that her murder was a hate crime and “there was no indication of any racial slurs,” Fairfax County Police Lt. Bryan Holland said. However, Fairfax Co. Prosecutor Ray Morrogh indicated that it was still early in the investigation to make that call.
“Let's wait until we get all the information and I'll make the judgment,” he said Tuesday, according to a WTOP reporter.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said Monday that they have issued a request to take custody of Torres after he is released from Fairfax County jail.
“ICE lodges detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges when the agency has probable cause to believe an alien is removable from the United States,” Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for ICE, said in a statement. Cutrell added that the agency has not had any previous contact with Torres.
ICE lodges detainers on aliens arrested on criminal charges who can be removed from the US if they entered the country illegally or if they violated their legal status.
ICE said that they have no record of Torres before his arrest, indicating that he never had any legal status in the US and that he entered the US illegally. If Torres had a pending application for legal status, ICE would have a record of it, an immigration official told BuzzFeed News.
That same official confirmed to BuzzFeed News that when an alien has no prior encounters with ICE and there is a detainer lodged on them, it indicates they are undocumented immigrants.
Torres was arrested when a patrol officer noticed Torres driving suspiciously and conducted a traffic stop before taking him into custody at 5:15 a.m.
“It appears suspect became so enraged in this traffic argument it escalated into deadly violence,” Julie Parker, the department's director of public affairs, said.
It is still unclear what happened between when Hassanen was first attacked and when her body was recovered, Wright said. Officers had recovered “several articles of evidence,” Wright told BuzzFeed News on Sunday.