A 22-year-old man accused of killing a 17-year-old Muslim girl in Virginia on Sunday morning is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tells The Daily Caller.
The suspect, Darwin A. Martinez Torres, was arrested on Sunday in the death of Nabra Hassanen, a high school student from Reston, Va. Police say he beat Hassanen with a metal baseball bat in what is being described as a road rage incident.
The case initially drew national attention because of the possibility of it being an anti-Muslim hate crime. But the Fairfax Co. Sheriff’s Department ruled out bias as a motive in statements on Monday.
According to police, Hassanen was attacked by Torres while walking with a group of friends from an IHOP to All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque, where they were attending an all-night prayer session for Ramadan.
Torres allegedly pulled up in his car and an argument ensued. Hassanen’s friends ran, but only realized later that Hassenen was not with them.
Torres was arrested after being spotted driving erratically by investigators who were searching for Hassanen. He led police to Hassanen’s body, which he allegedly dumped into a pond.
Local police and ICE were slow in confirming whether Torres is in the U.S. illegally. But in a statement issued Monday afternoon, an ICE spokesperson confirmed that the agency has lodged a detainer request against the El Salvadoran national, indicating that he is an illegal alien.
“On June 19, ICE lodged a detainer on Darwin Martinez Torres, a citizen and national of El Salvador, with the Adult Detention Center in Fairfax, Virginia. ICE lodges detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges when the agency has probable cause to believe an alien is removable from the United States. Mr. Martinez Torres has no prior encounters with ICE,” ICE spokesperson Carissa Cutrell told TheDC.
Cutrell specifically confirmed that Torres is an illegal alien. Asked if Torres has applied for amnesty under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Cutrell said that he had not. That means that Torres is not a so-called Dreamer. Cutrell also said that ICE was unaware he was in the U.S.
The Washington Post reported from Torres’ arraignment earlier on Monday that he works in construction. He has a four-year-old son and a girlfriend, Torres’ family members told The Post. The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to TheDC that Torres “is a resident of El Salvador.”
Torres spoke in court from jail through a Spanish translator, the newspaper reported.
This article has been updated with new information from ICE.