When their 16-year-old daughter vanished Jan. 30 after leaving her San Antonio, Texas, high school, her parents pleaded for help in finding her.
“Please help me,” her father, Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, asked WOAI. “Every time we go into her room, we cry,”
But it turned out she had been taken in by an organization protecting runaway teens from abusive homes, The Washington Post reported. Authorities found her in mid-March.
Al Hishmawi, 34, and his wife, Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, 33, now face charges of abusing their daughter because she resisted an arranged marriage to a 28-year-old man, authorities told The San Antonio Express-News. The alleged abuse began in May when discussion of the marriage to a man from Dallas began in a deal that was supposed to net her parents $20,000, the publication reported.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told KSAT that the 16-year-old and her five siblings are now in the custody of child protective services.
“This young lady, at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Salazar told the station. “Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beat with broomsticks. At least at one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.”
Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi were arrested Friday on suspicion of continuous violence against a family member, The Washington Post reported. The person to whom the girl was to be married also may face charges, Salazar said.
Officials told the San Antonio Express-News that the family, originally from Iraq, had been in the United States for two years on visas, though they did not specify the types of visas.
Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi denied any abuse, reported WOAI.
“Nobody abused my daughter,” Hishmawi told the station, adding that nothing untoward occurred with the prospective groom, either. “He never touched her. He never go to her room. She never go to where he live in Dallas. I have nothing to hide. I’m not scared about this. My daughter and this guy – we help those together to build a family.”