The parents of a Texas girl who went missing are now charged with abusing her.
Maarib Al Hishmawi, a 16-year-old high school student who disappeared in January, was found this month and found to have allegedly been beaten, choked, and burned with hot cooking oil by her parents for refusing an arranged marriage, KSAT reports.
The search for Al Hishmawi began on January 30, when she was reported missing after last being seen at William H. Taft High School in San Antonio, where she was a student.
Her parents, Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, at the time went on KSAT to deliver a heartfelt plea for their daughter to return home, and even employed the assistance of the FBI–which helped Bexar County Sheriff’s Office “navigate cultural barriers.”
Sheriff Javier Salazar said the teenager was found in mid-March, having been taken in by a humanitarian organization. Al Hishmawi’s reason for running away: her parents planned to marry her off for $20,000.
“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 said.
The sheriff described the abuse the high school student allegedly underwent at the hands of her parents:
“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.”
The couple were taken into custody Friday night, and released on separate $30,000 bonds Sunday. Their runaway daughter and other five children–who are between the ages of 5 and 15–were taken into the care of Child Protective Services.
While being led into a police vehicle, Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi asserted his innocence, KSAT reported.
“My daughter, she wanted just go to the wrong way,” he maintained. “She need to go to drugs, maybe. She have bad friend.”
Salazar told KSAT it’s “highly likely” the man to whom Al Hishmawi was to be wedded will also be charged. He said it’s not yet certain whether the other children were abused, but suggested the parents will face additional charges.