The father of the 17-year-old Muslim girl who was allegedly assaulted and murdered while going to a mosque with her friends is speaking out about the daughter he described as his close friend.
“I don’t want any family to feel like what I feel now,” Mohmoud Hassanen told the Washington Post of his teen daughter Nabra Hassanen. “It’s too hard. I raised my daughter for 17 years. Somebody took her life for no reason.”
He added: “She used to be like my friend, not my daughter.”
Police said 22-year-old Darwin Torres argued with the group of up to 15 teenagers walking and riding on bikes heading back to the mosque after a trip to McDonald’s.
“Torres then drove his car onto the curb as the group scattered,” police allege in a statement. “Witnesses say Torres caught up with them a short time later in a nearby parking lot and got out of his car armed with a baseball bat and began chasing the group. Torres was able to catch Nabra.”
Torres allegedly struck the girl with a baseball bat and abducted her, putting her into his car and driving away, unbeknownst to Hassanen’s friends who had headed back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS).
The group later reported Hassanen missing, according to the Washington Post.
A search for the teen ensued and police found Hassanen’s body in a Sterling pond Sunday afternoon, police announced. Officials said that police “saw a car driving suspiciously in the area.” Authorities stopped the car and took the driver, Torres, into custody.
A medical examiner ruled that the teen died of blunt-force trauma. Torres has been arrested and charged with murder.
Police have said that there is no evidence that the incident was a hate crime and cited road rage as a factor.
But Mohmoud told the Post that he believes his daughter was attacked because of her religion.
“He killed her because she’s a Muslim — this is what I tell the detective,” Mohmoud said. “Why was he running behind the kids wearing Islamic clothes with a baseball stick? Why, when my daughter fell down, why did he hit her? For what? We don’t know this guy. He doesn’t know us. We don’t hate anybody because of religion or color. I teach my kids to love everybody.”
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Torres was arraigned and held without bond on Monday, according to the Post. He was appointed a public defender, according to the publication, but it is unclear whether he has entered a plea. He is expected to appear in court on July 19.
Now, Mohmoud said he struggles to find an answer when his youngest daughter, 3-year-old Amarose, asked where her big sister is.
“I don’t have answer,” he told the Post. “I just kissed her and left.”
A fundraising page has been set up on behalf of Hassanen’s family.