An Iraqi woman, who was thought to be a victim of a hate crime that occurred in southern California, might have been killed by her own family members, the Associated Press reported.
Police have now directed their investigations towards the husband and teenage daughter of Shaima Alawadi, the 32-year-old mother of five who was found fatally beaten in her own home.
According to the report, authorities discovered that the family had been in a crisis with the victim allegedly looking to divorce her husband and her 17-year-old daughter resisting an arranged marriage.
According to the report, police are trying to interpret a text message Fatima Alhimidi, the victim's daughter, received while she was being interviewed after the time of the murder. The message reportedly read as: The detective will find out tell them (can't) talk.
Authorities became suspicious after Fatima had reported a handwritten note that she found by her mother's body. Forensic analysts determined the note as a copy. According to an ABC report, the note is said to have read, Go back to your own country, you terrorist.
Police are still trying to determine the whereabouts of Kassim Alhimidi, the victim's husband, at the time of the murder. Fatima might have been at odds with her mother after police had reported the teenager having sex with a 21-year-old man in a car, the news service said.
Police are now investigating witness reports of an unidentified man, believed to be in his 20s, escaping from the house.
The teenager, who was the first to have found her mother in the bloodied state on March 21, reportedly heard the sound of glass shattering and her mother screaming. Shaima was said to have died three days later after suffering from serious injuries to her head, the report said.
No arrest warrant has been made so far since authorities haven't got substantial evidence. It is not yet known when the Alawadi family members, who are in Iraq following the victim's burial proceedings last month, will return to the US.