Man charged with murder of Muslim teen; road rage appears to have led to killing, police say

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Darwin Martinez Torres (left) and Nabra Hassanen

A 22-year-old man has been charged with murder after police say he killed a 17-year-old Reston girl whose body was found in a pond hours after being reported missing during an early morning road rage incident in Virginia.

Fairfax County Police say the victim, Nabra Hassanen, was with a group of teenagers of about 15 people walking and riding their bikes along Dranesville Road from a McDonald's restaurant at around 3:40 a.m. Sunday. The group got involved in a dispute with the driver of a vehicle after they attended an overnight event at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, a mosque located in Sterling and is one of the largest mosque in the country.

Police say a teenage boy got into an argument with the driver, identified as 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres. He ended up driving his car onto the curb as the group scattered. Witnesses say Torres caught up with them later at a nearby parking lot and got out of his vehicle, chasing them with a baseball bat.

According to police, Torres struck Hassanen with the bat. Torres then put her into his car and took her to another location in Loudoun County.

Torres was later taken into custody by a Fairfax County police officer at around 5:15 a.m. after he located Torres' vehicle.

Officers continued to search the area for Hassanen, who was still missing. At around 3 p.m. Sunday, her body was found in a pond in the 21500 block of Ridgetop Circle in Sterling in Loudoun County.

Torres was then charged with her murder. The 22-year-old suspect appeared in court on Monday for his arraignment and was ordered held without bond.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement regarding Torres:

Police say an autopsy performed on Monday confirmed Hassanen as the victim.

On Monday afternoon, Fairfax County police say the killing appears to be the result of a road rage incident and they have no evidence that Hassanen was targeted.

“No evidence has been recovered that shows this was a hate crime,” said Fairfax County police spokesperson Julie Parker. “Nothing indicates that this was motivated by race or by religion.”

However, Mahmoud Hassanen, the victim's father believes otherwise and says his daughter was targeted because she is Muslim.

"Yes, that is what I believe. I don't care what the police say," he says.

He hopes other families never have to go through the pain and suffering he and his wife will now live with for the rest of their lives.

"She loved everybody," he says. "You can ask anybody. She loved everybody."

Hassanen's autopsy showed she suffered from blunt force trauma to the upper body.

"He killed her, grabbed her with his car and dropped her in a lake close to the mosque,” he says.

Mahmoud Hassanen says he has not slept since finding out about his daughter's death. He says this incident has cost her family even greater pain – one that he never wishes upon anybody.

“We don't hate nobody,” he says. “I don't want this happening to other people's kids."

He adds, "I raise my kids to love everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, how you look."

Those who knew the victim say she had been participating in a sleepover at the nearby ADAMS Center and was walking with friends to eat before beginning a Ramadan fast.

The ADAMS community issued a statement following the incident. They also set up a GoFundMe page for Hassanen.

The statement says, "We are devastated and heartbroken as our community undergoes and processes this traumatic event. It is a time for us to come together to pray and care for our youth. In the Islamic tradition, it is reported that the Beloved Prophet Muhammad said, “There are three supplications that are never rejected, the supplication of the parent for their child, the supplication of the person who is fasting, and the supplication of a traveler.”  We ask all community members to sincerely pray for our dear daughter, sister, and friend."

The ADAMS community says it has licensed counselors on site. They can be reached at 703-433-1325. the center will continue with its daily and nightly Ramadan prayers. "This is a time we all need to come together to collectively heal," their statement continued.

"I love her," Hassanen's father said. "She's gone, but I still love her."