Public vigil for Nabra Hassanen Wednesday in Reston

Posted June 22, 2017

The Egyptian embassy in Washington is following updates in the investigation of the kidnapping and alleged killing of an Egyptian-American Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid said Tuesday in an official statement.

They said Martinez Torres beat Nabra as her friends scattered, then put her in his auto, assaulted her again and dumped her body.

Joshua Salaam, chaplain at the ADAMS Center, told a press conference Tuesday that the mosque has faith in the police investigation. He does not, however, face hate crime charges. It was road rage that inflicted "blunt force trauma" to her body, and road rage that discarded that lifeless body in a pond a few miles away.

There's no way to downplay it as being rooted in anything other than hate.

A neighbor, who also refused to give her name, said in Spanish that Torres had been living there for at least two years and that he and his wife had a 4-year-old daughter.

He was arraigned Monday in a Fairfax County court and was expected to appear in court again July 19.

"I just wanted to support the family and the community", said Omar Ghowrwal, 34, who traveled to the mosque alone from neighboring Ashburn, Virginia.

Virginia law defines these crimes, in part, as attempts to intimidate or instill fear in people targeted for their race or religion.

In addition to the vigils, planned in cities including San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York City and Detroit, the public showed an outpouring of support on the web for the Hassanen family in light of Nabra's death.

Hassanen was killed early Sunday morning as she too walked with a group of friends for more than a mile, returning from a pre-dawn meal to Ramadan prayers. The police have stated they're not investigating it as a hate crime, but as a "road rage" incident.

Authorities say a man charged with murder in the death of a Muslim teen who was attacked near her Virginia mosque became enraged after getting in a fight with one of the girl's friends.

Just before a funeral service for Nabra got underway Wednesday afternoon at the ADAMS Center, some members of the area's Muslim community made their anger about the crime known.

Police have charged 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, a Salvadoran national, with murder in the case.

Police said Torres chased the group with a baseball bat and was able to reach Nabra.

"At the end of the day when we break all the labels down, we need to celebrate each other, we need to protect each other, we need to be there for each other", she said.

"I'm speechless. Nabra was brutally abducted & murdered". Road rage was the alleged motive behind the slaying, police said. "Indeed. If you think for a minute that her appearance had nothing to do with this crime, you're lying to yourself".

She said she has told her own teenage daughter not to attend late-night Ramadan prayers and services with friends, so she won't be a target.

Associated Press writers Matt Barakat in Fairfax, Virginia; and Ben Nuckols and Luis Alonso Lugo in Sterling, Virginia; contributed to this report. "We're all missing her".

For Saniya Salah, 74, who lives around the corner from the mosque that Hassanen left minutes before she was attacked and has granddaughters Hassanen's age, the attack has shaken her sense of security.