Iraqi woman's death may not be hate crime

April 5, 2012 at 1:45 AM
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EL CAJON, Calif., April 5 (UPI) -- The brutal beating death of an Iraqi-American woman may not have been a hate crime, police records show.

A search warrant affidavit indicates a relative told police Shaima Alawadi, 32, was planning to end her marriage and move to Texas to join family members, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wednesday. There was more family turmoil because her daughter did not want to marry a cousin, the report said.

Alawadi died three days after she was beaten March 21 by someone who broke into the family home, police officers said. Alawadi and her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Alhimidi, were the only people home at the time of the attack.

A threatening letter was found in the house, suggesting she was targeted because of her nationality. But investigators say the crime lab has ruled the note, which told the family to return to Iraq, was a copy of a handwritten original.

Alawadi was beaten with a tire iron or similar weapon. A medical examiner said she was hit at least six times on the head.

A neighbor reported seeing a man who appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s running from the house.

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