FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. -- Support and anger has poured in from all over the world after Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim from Sterling, was found dead in a pond yesterday after police say she was kidnapped while leaving a mosque.
Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, has been charged with her murder. A friend of Hassanen's mother told DCW50 that the teen and her friends were walking from the ADAMS Center mosque to a nearby IHOP on Saturday when she was apparently assaulted and snatched.
"They just walk because they pray here," the woman said, "and they have to pray until morning. They went to grab something to eat from IHOP... that's it, they walk to IHOP as a group, you know."
When mosque personnel realized what had happened, they jumped in to help police search for Hassanen. Her body was found in a pond in Sterling on Sunday afternoon.
A crowdfunding project posted after Hassanen's death was confirmed has raised $161,899 so far, of a $200,000 goal, less than 24 hours after being posted.
The project, named For Nabra and hosted on LaunchGood, states, "Let's show our support for Nabra and her family after she was brutally murdered in the last 10 days of Ramadan."
The ADAMS Center mosque has released a statement about Hassanen's death, saying, "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." Their executive imam, Imam Mohamed Magid, will address the community Monday night about the killing.
Police released a statement on Monday saying they believe that Hassanen's death was due to a "road rage incident involving the suspect", and they do not believe at this point that she was targeted because of her race or religion.
Jasmine Rosa, a friend of Hassanen's who attended South Lakes with her, told us, "[Nabra] was an amazing person, always pushing her friends to success. She smiled every day to try and make us happy. We made a Snapchat story just for her."
Classmates and friends of Hassanen gathered on a tennis court on Sunday night to pay their respects to her with a candlelight vigil.
There will be a larger vigil for her on Wednesday, organized by the South Lakes Muslim Student Association.