Authorities in Texas have arrested the parents of a 16-year-old girl they allegedly choked, battered and otherwise abused in retaliation for her refusal to comply with an arranged marriage.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, 34-year-old Abdulah Fahmi Kala Alhishmawi and 33-year-old Hamdiyah Sabah Alhishmawi are expected to face felony counts of child abuse for violent attacks that included burning Maarib Alhishmawi with hot oil, beating her with broomsticks and choking her.
As Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar explained, the teen girl disappeared in January and remained missing until earlier this month, when she told authorities that she had been faced an array of abuse by her parents — specifically her mother.
“I believe it was the female suspect, the mother, that at one point actually threw hot cooking oil on her because she was refusing to take part in this marriage,” he said, making it clear that the father was also involved in the physical abuse.
“At least at one point she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness,” the sheriff said.
The parents allegedly entered into an agreement with an adult male in another city to marry Maarib Alhishmawi, a prospect she rebuffed.
Reports indicate the parents intended to receive $20,000 from that man as part of the arranged marriage.
According to Salazar, it is “highly likely” that the would-be groom will also face criminal charges.
The alleged victim has five younger siblings between the ages of 5 and 15, according to police. They have all been placed in the custody of social workers.
According to KSAT, FBI experts were called in to assist authorities in translating and understanding the girl’s cultural differences.
Her Iraqi family had been in the U.S. for about two years on a visa program.