On Father’s Day, police found the body of Muslim teenager named Nabra Hassanen and soon arrested a suspect, Darwin Martinez Torres, who has been charged with murder. Although the horrific details of Hassanen’s death have led authorities to determine that there was no evidence of a hate crime, the freshly discovered vandalism of Hassanen’s memorial site only makes this dreadful story even worse.
Authorities said that Hassanen and a group of friends encountered Torres, who confronted them while they walked near a Fairfax County mosque in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was reportedly enraged during an argument with them and began to drive onto the curb. Later, he chased the teens on foot, and most of them were able to flee. Unfortunately, Hassanen could not escape, and Torres attacked his victim with a baseball bat. He then allegedly kidnapped her, and authorities have determined that she died from blunt-force trauma to her head. Hassanen’s remains were discovered in a Loudoun County pond on Sunday night.
Fox 5 in D.C. reports that Hassanen’s memorial in Dupont Circle was set ablaze on Wednesday, and police have apprehended a suspect:
DC Fire said they responded to the scene at about 8:30 a.m. and found the remains from the memorial for 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen on fire at the Dupont Memorial Fountain on Connecticut Avenue NW.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames. DC Police said 24-year-old Jonathan Soloman of South Carolina was arrested in connection with the fire.
According to CNN, Hassanen’s father, Mahmoud, firmly believes that his daughter was targeted by Torres “because she’s Muslim,” and he feels there’s no way that this isn’t a hate crime. And he won’t receive any comfort from a police spokesperson’s statement that Solomon’s vandalism of his daughter’s grave “does not appear to be motivated by bias.”