A California hate crime murder that sparked an international uproar may have been a killing within the family, as police turn their investigation to her husband and teen daughter.
The Iraqi family was troubled by relationship issues before Shaima Alawadi, 32, a mother of five was beaten to death in her California home, according to newly released documents that contain little evidence the killing was a hate crime.
Alawadi, 32, planned to divorce her husband and move to Texas, according to search warrant records obtained by U-T San Diego.
And the victim’s 17-year-old daughter was apparently distraught over the prospect of an arranged marriage to her cousin.
In addition, a suspicious text message led police to take a look at the woman’s daughter, who reportedly had a strained relationship with Ms Alawadi.
While police interviewed her after the attack, she got a text message reading: ‘The detective will find out tell them (can’t) talk,’ according to the search warrant affidavit.
The newly uncovered documents show that Ms Alawadi was contacted in November after officers caught her daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, 17, having sex with a 21-year-old man in a parked car.
The records state that after Alawadi had picked up the teen following the incident, Fatima jumped out of her mother’s car as she was driving away at speeds of up to 35 mph.
Police have reportedly searched the home of the man that Fatima had the vehicle tryst with, and have removed items from his home in their investigation.
The teenager, who was with her mother in the Lakeside home at the time of the March 21 attack, called 911 after finding Alawadi unconscious.
Ms Alawadi’s family, including her husband and daughter, are still in Iraq, where burial proceedings were held.
El Cajon police have said little about the investigation since a March 26 news conference.
A voicemail message left by The Associated Press for El Cajon police spokesman Lt. Mark Coit wasn’t immediately returned on Thursday.
The FBI is assisting the investigation. No arrests have been made.
Suspicions arose that it was a hate crime after the daughter told reporters she found a note near her mother telling the family to go back where they came from.
But authorities haven’t disclosed the contents of the handwritten note.
The sheriff’s crime lab determined it was a copy, not the original, according the documents.
El Cajon police have said the note indicated the possibility of a hate crime, but investigators have stressed they are exploring other possibilities.
Those findings prompted demonstrations around the world by women donning a hijab as a show of solidarity towards the female Islamic community.
The campaign, ‘One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi’, has seen women worldwide wear the Islamic headscarf to show support for the family and friends of Ms Alawadi.
The family told police a similar note was left at their home weeks before the attack, but they did not keep it or file a report with police.
On the night of the killing, the teenager told police, she heard her mother squeal and the sound of glass breaking but thought it was a dropped plate.
She said she found the her mother unconscious 10 minutes later.
Ms Alawadi, who had at least six blows to the head, possibly caused by a tire iron, died three days later.
A neighbor reported seeing a man in his 20s running from the area of Alawadi’s house around the time of the attack.
The victim and her family left Iraq in the early 1990s after a failed Shiite uprising.
They lived in Saudi Arabian refugee camps before coming to the U.S., said Imam Husham Al-Husainy of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center in Dearborn, Mich. Saddam Hussein’s troops hanged Alawadi’s uncle.
The family arrived in the Detroit area in 1993 and later moved to San Diego.
Shaima Alawadi was a religious Shiite Muslim who wore a hijab, said Al-Husainy, a family friend, and her father, Sayed Nabeel Alawadi, is a cleric in Iraq.