“Parents accused of beating their 16-year-old daughter for refusing an arranged marriage were released on bond Sunday.
Authorities said Maarib Al Hishmawi’s parents — Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, 33 — attempted to force her into an arranged marriage and subjected her to physical abuse when she refused.
“This young lady, at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Salazar said. “Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beat with broomsticks. At least at one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.”
The teenager ran away and was reported missing on Jan. 30 after she was last seen leaving Taft High School, where she was a student. Salazar said they found her in mid-March, adding that she was taken in by an organization after she ran away and was safe.
Al Hishmawi is now in CPS custody along with her five other siblings who are between the ages of 5 and 15. Her parents are charged with continuous violence against a family member and were taken into custody Friday night. They were released on separate $30,000 bonds Sunday.
Salazar said it’s unclear whether Al Hishmawi’s siblings were also abused and added that he believes other charges will be filed in connection with this case.
Salazar said it’s “highly likely” the man who Al Hishmawi was arranged to be married to will be charged as well.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI announced they were investigating her disappearance in late February.
BCSO Assistant Chief Deputy Ronald Bennett previously said Al Hishmawi was physically abused by someone she knew.
“I cannot speculate on who (abused her), or when, or how severe. I do understand that this has been a recurring issue for her according to some interviews,” Bennett said in a February press conference.
The FBI was called in to assist in the investigation due to Al Hishmawi’s ethnicity, Bennet said. The FBI helped the Sheriff’s Office navigate language barriers and understand cultural aspects of the Iraqi girl’s life.”
FBI, BCSO investigating disappearance of 16-year-old Taft HS student
Maarib Al Hishmawi last seen Jan. 30
Authorities have initiated a joint investigation into the Iraqi girl’s disappearance.
“She has not been seen by her family, she has not been heard from by her friends, so we have come to the conclusion that this is not a typical missing 16-year-old,” BCSO Assistant Chief Deputy Ronald Bennett said during a press conference Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office said Al Hishmawi was physically abused by someone she knew and they are not only interested in finding her, but also ensuring she is in a safe environment.
“I cannot speculate on who (abused her), or when, or how severe. I do understand that this has been a recurring issue for her according to some interviews,” Bennett said. “At this point, we are asking for your help — the public’s help — in identifying and locating where she’s at.”
Al Hishmawi is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing jeans, a white jacket with black piping, light colored pump-style heels and a white, floral hijab.
Bennett said while it’s possible she may have been taken back to the Middle East, they aren’t sure of her whereabouts or whether she’s been harmed since her disappearance.
The FBI was called in to assist in the investigation due to Al Hishmawi’s ethnicity, Bennet said. The FBI is helping the Sheriff’s Office navigate language barriers and understand cultural aspects of the Iraqi girl’s life. Bennett could not expand on cultural differences that might have contributed to her disappearance.
Bennett said the Sheriff’s Office investigates between 15 and 20 missing juvenile cases every week, but where Al Hishmawi’s case differs is that the juvenile is typically found within the first 24 to 48 hours.
Investigators are not sure whether she was taken or left on her own. Now, they are asking the public for help.”