El Cajon, CA police have not been able to identify a suspect in the gruesome murder that took the life of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi mother of five who was beaten to death in her home last Wednesday. El Cajon, which is a few miles west of San Diego, has one of the nation’s largest Iraqi communities.
Police say Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter Fatima Al Himidi found her mother unconscious in the family’s home on Wednesday after being beaten with a tire iron. Alawadi died Saturday, a short while after being taken off life support.
Relatives and friends say a handwritten note that read “go back to your own country” and labeled her a terrorist was found near Alawadi’s body. El Cajon police said they are investigating the case as a possible hate crime but have yet to officially call it one.
“Although we are exploring all aspects of this investigation, evidence thus far leads us to believe this is an isolated incident,” El Cajon police Lt. Mark Coit told UTSanDiego.com. “A hate crime is one of the possibilities and we will be looking at that. We don’t want to focus on one issue and miss something else.”
At a news conference on Monday, police said the FBI was assisting in the case but provided few details about the investigation, according to the LA Times.
“Given the fact of these notes left, we’re obviously concerned about the possibility of a hate crime. I don’t think anyone would disagree this is a coldblooded murder,” Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations told UTSanDiego.com.
Fatima Al Himidi said nothing was stolen from the house, leading her to believe the attack on her mother motivated by hate.
Alawadi leaves behind five children and her husband.