A 32-year-old woman from Iraq was critically injured after being severely beaten in her Southern California home, and police said a threatening note was discovered at the scene.
The woman’s 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious Wednesday morning in the dining room of the house in El Cajon, police Lt. Steve Shakowski said. Authorities identified the victim as Shaima Alawadi, a mother of five.
The daughter told KUSI-TV that her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron.
Police Lt. Mark Coit said a threatening note was discovered “very close to where the victim was found,” but he did not disclose other details of the note. The family said they had found a similar note earlier this month but did not report it to authorities, Coit said.
A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, told the newspaper UT San Diego that the attack apparently occurred after the father took the younger children to school. Alzaidy told the newspaper the family is from Iraq, and that Alawadi is a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wears the traditional hijab, a head scarf.
Investigators said they believe the assault is an isolated incident.
The family had lived in the house in San Diego County for only a few weeks, after moving from Michigan, Alzaidy said. Alzaidy told the newspaper her father and Alawadi’s husband had previously worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East.