A Texas teen was physically abused for months by her parents for rejecting an arranged marriage proposal. The 16-year-old’s parents allegedly threw hot cooking oil on her and beat her with broomsticks.
The shocking abuse of Maarib Al Hishmawi, whose family arrived in the U.S. from Iraq two years ago, according to TIME, came to light earlier this month when investigators found the teen, who was reported missing in January. Al Hismawi ran away from home at a time when she was about to be married off by her parents to an adult man, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
“It became pretty obvious early on this wasn’t a regular missing person’s case. We began hearing reports of an ongoing abuse involving this lady. Possibly, reports of an arranged marriage and we believe that may have prompted this young lady to leave her home.”
Al Hishmawi was sheltered by an organization before the police located her in another city in mid-March. She was then placed in custody of Child Protection Services and began to reveal details of abuse.
Salazar told reporters the investigators believe that in mid-2017, there had been a marriage arrangement made between Al Hishmawi family and an adult male living in another city, whereby $20,000 was to exchange hands.
It was during this time the teen was subjected to abuse for refusing to participate in the marriage. Investigators believe Hishmawi’s mother, Hamdiyah Saha Al Hishmawi, 33, threw hot cooking oil on her. She was also hit with broomsticks, and choked to the point of unconsciousness at least once.
Salazar said the teen was facing abuse since she turned 15 last year, when she refused her parents’ attempts to convince her. To end the assaults, she finally agreed to the marriage and later ran away from home.
The Al Hishmawi couple, 34-year-old Abdulah Fahmi and his wife, Hamdiyah Saha, were arrested Friday and charged with continuous family violence. Salazar also said the FBI, which was helping the police in the case, could bring more charges.
The couple’s five other children, all aged under 15, were also placed in CPS custody as a measure of caution. Salazar said at this time there were no indications the teen’s siblings were abused.
Investigators searched the Al Hishmawi home, but Salazar did not reveal what was found. The police are likely to file charges against the adult male who agreed to marry the teen, Salazar told reporters.
“I am almost certain that there should be other charges forthcoming with that suspect. We do know who it is and my understanding is that we have talked to him. It is highly likely he will be facing charges as well.”