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Affidavit: Iraqi beating victim in California had friction with daughter, husband

Atef Hassan / Reuters

The husband of Shaima Alawadi, Kassim Alhimidi, holds a picture of his slain wife at her father's house in Samawa, 160 miles south of Baghdad on April 1. Alawadi, an Iraqi-American woman who was beaten to death in her U.S. home is a possible hate crime victim, although new court documents raise questions about family members.

Court records released Thursday show that an Iraqi immigrant who was killed last month in her California home had a rocky relationship with her teenage daughter and apparently was planning to divorce her husband, NBC San Diego reported.

No arrests have been made in the killing of Shaima Alawadi, 32, who died from blunt force injuries to the head.

NBC San Diego said the records include the description from a neighbor of a possible suspect running from the area of the house on March 21 about 45 minutes before her daughter Fatima called 911. Fatima told reporters and police that she discovered her mother unconscious in a pool of blood in their El Cajon home. Alawadi died in the hospital three days later.

A  "dark skinned male" in his "late teens or early 20s" was seen running from the  area, NBC San Diego reported, citing an police affidavit for a search warrant filed in Superior Court in San Diego.

Read the police affidavit

The affidavit indicated 17-year-old Fatima was upset about the family's plan to have her marry one of her cousins, NBC San Diego said.

It noted that on Jan. 31, Alawadi called the police to report Fatima missing. The daughter was located 20 minutes later and the call was canceled, according to the affidavit.

The document says police records show officers answered a call reporting two people were possibly having sex in a parked car — a couple identified as Fatima and Rawnaq Yacub, 21. After Alawadi arrived to pick up her daughter, the teen reportedly jumped out of her mother’s car when it was moving about 35 miles per hour and was injured. In the hospital, she told paramedics she was being forced to marry her cousin against her will. 

A search of Fatima's cellphone showed that while the teen was being interviewed by detectives, she received a cryptic text from someone that read: "The detective will find out tell them cnt talk'," NBC San Diego reported, citing the affidavit.

A note left near Alawadi on the day of her death called her a "terrorist" and sparked the theory that her killing was a hate crime based on religious or ethnic bias. Police have cautioned against rushing to that conclusion, noting that it was just one possibility that was being explored.

Mike Blake / Reuters

Mourners hold a candlelight vigil to remember Shaima Alawadi outside her home in El Cajon, Calif., on March 28.

The news site UT San Diego, which obtained the police records first, said a sheriff’s lab examination of the note showed that it was a photocopy of the message, not an original.

UT San Diego also reported that a search of the family’s cars turned up court paperwork — not yet completed — used to file for divorce. Another form requesting a waiver of fees had been filled out by hand with Alawadi's name, adress and phone number.

Alawadi's husband, Kassim Alhimidi, and Fatima are reportedly in Iraq, where they traveled for Alawadi’s burial.

The records initially were released inadvertently to UT San Diego by the the Superior Court in El Cajon, a press officer at the court said. Other press organizations were then given access to the information.

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