An Iraqi family was troubled by relationship issues before 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.
Victim Shaima Alawadi, 32, planned to divorce her husband and move to Texas, according to the search warrant records obtained by U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/I2NLad).
The documents also show the woman's 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, was distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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.
Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com