Authorities found what they believe are the remains of Nabra Hassanen, the 17-year-old girl who went missing after she was allegedly assaulted after leaving a mosque Sunday morning.
Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, has been arrested and charged with murder after the remains were found in a Sterling pond, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Fairfax County Police.
Hassanen had been reported missing at around 4 a.m. near Dranesville and Woodson roads in Herndon. She had been walking outside with a group of friends when they “got into a dispute with a man in a car,” according to a report from the Fairfax County Police Department.
Police believe Martinez Torres got out of his car and then assaulted the victim. According to a Washington Post report, quoting Hassanen’s mother, Martinez Torres used a metal bat.
Fairfax County and Loudoun County police immediately began an extensive search using a police helicopter, K-9 teams and search-and-rescue teams, believing Hassanen to be injured. They spotted a car “driving suspiciously” and stopped it, the report states.
Police eventually found the remains in a pond in the 21500 block of Ridgetop Circle in Sterling. An autopsy is currently underway to confirm the identity of the remains, but detectives believe they are Hassanen’s.
Hassanen reportedly was walking with a group of four or five teens from an IHOP near the Sterling mosque All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) when the confrontation happened, prompting all of the teens except Hassanen to run back to the mosque to report that she had been left behind, according to the Post report.
“Please pray for me, please pray for me,” Sawsan Gazzar said in Arabic at her apartment while surrounded by more than 30 women in Muslim garb, according to the Post. “Pray for me that I can handle this . . . I lost my daughter, my first reason for happiness.”
The family had been celebrating Ramadan, which involves fasting between sunrise and sundown, and the IHOP reportedly was a popular early morning hangout for Muslim teens before the fasting began at sunrise.
Police did not provide any indication that they were investigating it as a hate crime.
“Detectives and Victim Services Specialists are have been in close communication with the family throughout this investigation and will continue to provide assistance, as needed,” the report from Fairfax County Police states. “The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office provided invaluable resources and assistance and we will continue to work closely with them as the case develops.