By Gina Yarbrough
EL CAJON–Investigators are continuing their search for a suspect involved in the fatal beating of an Iraqi mother of five in her El Cajon home last Wednesday.
At a news conference Monday, El Cajon Police Chief Jim Redman told reporters the murder of Shaima Alawadi, 32, was an “isolated incident,” however, he didn’t rule out the possibility of a hate crime.
“During the initial stages of this investigation, a note was discovered very close to where the victim was found. Based on the contents of the note we are not ruling out the possibly that this may be a hate crime.,” said Chief Redman. “ At this time we are not revealing the contents of the note, but it was threatening in nature.”
Chief Redman said the family had received a threatening note earlier this month, but they did not report it to El Cajon police.
On March 21 at approximately 11:15 a.m., Alawadi was discovered unconscious in the dining area of her Skyview home by her 17 year-old daughter, Fatima. Alawadi was transported to Sharp Trauma Center with severe head injuries. On Saturday, Alawadi was taken off life support and succumbed to her injuries.
Last week, Alhimid’s daughter told reporters a note found next to her mother said “”go back to your country, you terrorist.” She said her mother was beaten with a tire iron.
“We are still in the early stages of this investigation, and have not drawn any conclusions at this point,” Chief Redman told reporters.
Chief Redman did confirm that a window in the home had been broken, but would not go into further details of the investigation.
Investigators have interviewed the victim’s family. The victim’s husband and five children were not home at the time of the murder.
Reporters asked Chief Redman to elaborate on evidence found at the home and possible suspects, but the chief told reporters he could not comment on the investigation.
The County Medical Examiner’s office has sealed information on details of Alawadi’s injuries, but Chief Redman confirmed the victim died of severe head injuries.
“I would like to assure all citizens of El Cajon that your police department is working diligently to solve this murder,” said the chief. “We have been approached by the Federal Bureau of Investigations offering any assistance we may need and will be utilizing their resources as appropriate.”
Investigators have reached out to the Middle Eastern community to assure them the case would be solved. East County is home to 50,000 to 60,000 Muslim and Chaldean residents.
“We recognize this is a sensitive case,” said the chief.
Chief Redman said the victim’s husband is on disability and currently is not working. The victim’s husband served as a cultural adviser for the U.S. Army in San Diego.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311.