Fairfax County, Virginia police revealed on Monday that they arrested and charged 22-year-old Darwin A. Martinez Torres in the murder of a 17-year-old Muslim girl.
Law enforcement revealed that they had apprehended the man who reportedly murdered Nabra Hassanen, but tweeted that they were not investigating the crime as a “hate crime.”
The Washington Post reported that Hassanen was leaving a Virginia-area IHOP very early Sunday morning and was abducted, assaulted and murdered.
After Hassanen and her friends were approached by a motorist, later alleged to be Martinez Torres, all but Hassanen fled to a nearby mosque to seek refuge.
Hassanen’s friends, realizing that she had been left behind, reported the girl missing around 4 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Her body was found later on Sunday by law enforcement officials after an extensive search.
Police told The Washington Post that they had “collected several articles of evidence” reportedly incriminating Martinez Torres. Hassanen’s mother claims she was told by police that her daughter was struck by a metal baseball bat.
“I think it had to do with the way she was dressed and the fact that she’s Muslim,” Hassanen’s mother told the newspaper in a statement. “Why would you kill a kid? What did my daughter do to deserve this?”
The killing comes in the midst of one of Islam’s most important holidays, Ramadan.
Fairfax County police spokesman Don Gotthardt told NPR that Hassaen’s murder is not currently being investigated as a hate crime.
“The fortunate thing is we have someone under arrest, and we will be very, very meticulous in our investigation,” Gotthardt said.
ABC News reported later on Monday that local law enforcement was looking at Hassanen’s murder as a “road rage” incident.
“This tragic case appears to be the result of a road rage incident involving the suspect, who was driving and who is now charged with murder, and a group of teenagers who was walking and riding bikes in and along a roadway,” a Fairfax Police Department official told the network in a statement. “Our investigation at this point in no way indicates the victim was targeted because of her race or religion.”
A crowdfunding page was almost immediately set up to raise money for Hassanan’s family, and as of Monday afternoon, had received nearly $200,000 of the requested $250,000.