Details in search warrants obtained by 10News' media partner U-T San Diego show an Iraqi-American woman viciously beaten to death in her El Cajon home was apparently planning to divorce her husband and move to Texas, casting doubt on whether the slaying was a hate crime, as first suggested.
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Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was found severely beaten in the living room of her home in the 500 block of Skyview Street on the morning of March 21. She was taken off life support three days later.
Fatima Alhimidi, Alawadi's 17-year-old daughter, said she and her mother were the only ones in the home when the incident occurred. She told police she heard her mother squeal and then the sound of what she thought was broken glass. Ten minutes later, Fatima said she found her mother on the ground and then called 911.
Records obtained at El Cajon Superior Court on Wednesday showed the victim's plans to leave her husband and also revealed the teen was distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin, U-T San Diego reported.
Alawadi's husband, Kassim Alhimidi, was reported to have been taking the couple's younger children to school when the attack occurred, but an affidavit stated his whereabouts had not yet been confirmed, according to U-T San Diego.
Alawadi's death spurred outrage in the Muslim community. Police said the slaying may have been a hate crime -- citing a threatening note found at the scene -- but stressed all other possibilities would be investigated.
Authorities said a handwritten note was found next to Alawadi, and a family member said the note called Alawadi "a terrorist" and told her and her family "to go home."
The note was similar to one found earlier outside the house that Alawadi dismissed as a prank, Fatima said.
According to the search warrants, a neighbor reported seeing a dark-skinned man with a skinny build running away from the area of the victim's home. He was described as being in his late teens to early 20s, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt and carrying a brown doughnut-shaped cardboard box.
The warrants also stated that the handwritten note that was found next to Alawadi was "a copy and was not an original." Police are searching for that original.
A relative said Alawadi was planning to divorce her husband, Kassim Alhimidi, and move to Texas, according to the search warrants. Documents to file a divorce were found in Alawadi's car, but they were not filled out, the search warrants stated. Also in the car, investigators found a form requesting a court fee waiver that was filled out in handwriting with Alawadis name, address and phone number.
The documents also revealed Fatima was distraught over her pending arranged marriage to a cousin. Additionally, a search of Fatima's cellphone records showed that she received a text message while being interviewed by investigators hours after the attack on her mother. The message said: "The detective will find out tell them cnt [can't] talk."
Fatima also had a previous run-in with police last November when she was caught having sex with a 21-year-old man in a parked car, the search warrants stated.
After being picked up by her mother, Fatima jumped out of her mother's car going 35 mph, according to the search warrants. Fatima suffered a possible broken arm and was placed on a medical hold.
Fatima, her brother, and her father traveled to Baghdad last week for the woman's funeral. A family friend told the U-T that they planned to stay in Iraq for two weeks.
Questions have been raised over why El Cajon police let the family members leave the country. 10News made repeated calls to the police department on Wednesday and as of 11 p.m., the calls had not been returned.
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