Police have arrested a man suspected of kidnapping and murdering a teenage Muslim girl on her way back home from a mosque on June 18.
The victim, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, was last seen walking from an all-night prayer session at a mosque in Sterling, Virginia, with friends after they broke their Ramadan fast together, NBC News reports.
Police said that around 4 a.m., Hassanen got into a fight with a man in a car, suspected to be Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, who is accused of then getting out of the car to attack the teen.
The group ran away during the attack, but reportedly could not find Hassanen, according to the Independent. Community members in the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque started a search for the girl and contacted authorities.
A search by police in Fairfax County turned up a body believed to be Hassanen's in a nearby pond. Investigators also found a baseball bat, but it's unclear where the bat was found.
"What investigators told the father and the mother, he hit her in the head and put her in the car and he threw her in the water," said family friend Abas Sherif.
Police announced they are not currently investigating the girl's death as a hate crime, according to ABC News.
"Based on the information our detectives have at this point, there is no indication that this was a hate-bias motivated-related crime," said a police statement. "If that changes as the investigation progresses, we would certainly pursue that aspect."
"The Office of The Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to confirm the identity of the remains and determine the exact cause and manner of death; however, detectives do believe the remains are those of our missing teen," said the Fairfax County Police Department.
Torres, who was arrested after police stopped him for "driving suspiciously in the area," faces a murder charge.
"We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event," said ADAMS in a news release, reports Daily Mail. "It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth."
"I just can't think of a worse instance to occur with the loss of a 17-year-old on Father's Day," said Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman. "As a father of a 17-year-old myself, I can't think of anything worse than confronting that on this particular day."
Virginia's lieutenant governor and attorney general also made statements about the attack.
"The unspeakable murder in Sterling feels like an assault on our entire community," said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. "Love and respect must overcome hate."
"Pam and I are deeply disturbed by the assault and murder of a teenage girl in Fairfax last night," said Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement. "There is absolutely no place for this kind of violence in our Commonwealth."
"Every Virginian should feel safe and welcome in our communities, and no parent should ever have to experience such a heartbreaking tragedy," Northam continued. "As the police investigation continues, I urge all Virginians to keep Nabra’s friends and family in their hearts."