The parents of a 16-year-old girl who went missing in late January have been charged for allegedly abusing their daughter after she refused to submit to an arranged marriage leading her to run away from home.
Maarib Al Hishmawi was last seen on Jan. 30 after leaving Taft High School in San Antonio, Texas, where she was a student.
The teen was found in mid-March alive and safe. She has been living in the care of child protective services since then, said police.
After questioning the teen, police learned of some “quite disturbing” details that had led to the teen running away from home.
Parents of once missing teen Maarib Hishmawi now charged with continuous violence against family, authorities say teen was beaten with broom & hot cooking oil poured on her because she was refusing an arranged marriage @News4SA @KABBFOX29 Maarib is safe in CPS custody pic.twitter.com/dg570gNAi0
— Melissa Vega (@melissamvega) March 24, 2018
The teen’s parents — Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Saha Al Hishmawi, 33 — allegedly tried to arrange a marriage for the teen, who was 15-years-old at the time, with a 28-year-old man living in another city in exchange for a sum of $20,000 in May 2017, police said. When Maarib refused to go through with the marriage, her parents allegedly subjected her to physical abuse where they beat her with a broomstick, choked her, and even burned her with hot oil, according to police.
“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,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said in a statement on Friday, March 23.
“Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beaten with broomsticks. At least at one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.
“It’s really heartbreaking to hear,” he added.
Police said Maarib then agreed to the marriage in order to stop the abuse. However, when the marriage was going to take place, the 16-year-old decided to run away from home to avoid getting married.
Her parents have been charged with continuous violence against a family member and were taken into custody on March 23. Salazar said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the girl’s disappearance. He believes other charges may be filed pending the investigation.
Maarib is accompanied by her siblings — aged between five and 15 — in the custody of child protective services, police said. Salazar said during the news conference that it is unclear whether the other siblings were abused as well.
Authorities said the 28-year-old man who was involved in the arranged marriage will likely face charges.
Bexar County Sheriff deputies have arrested the parents of Maarib Al Hishmawi, the S.A. student who went missing in January. We’re told the girl has been found alive and in CPS Custody. #kens5eyewitness pic.twitter.com/1wGRFaoBd1
— Roxie Bustamante (@RoxieBTV) March 24, 2018
The teen’s father Abdulah denies the allegations, saying that nobody abused his daughter, reported NBC 4.
He told police about the possible arranged marriage between his daughter and a family friend who lives in Dallas. He said that he was not going to force his daughter to marry the man, but if his daughter agreed, he would give parental consent through the courts to allow the marriage to take place, reported the news station.
“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, ” he said, reported the news station.
Police are investigating the matter. No further information has been provided.