Ibtihal Darraji’s (photos below) strangled body, which was so badly scorched that authorities had difficulty in identifying her, was found in her flaming car in Spokane last week. Earlier, Yasir A. Darraji (photo right), disgusted by his ex-wife’s increasingly Western-oriented lifestyle, tried to force Ibtihal to move back to Iraq and leave her children behind in America, and if she refused, he threatened to kill her.
Spokesman ReviewA 29-year-old Iraqi immigrant, Ibtihal Darraji, has been identified as the woman found strangled inside a burning car Friday on the South Hill. Police have arrested her ex-husband, Yasir A. Darraji, 30. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
Oxygen As firefighters began extinguishing a blazing vehicle found in a parking lot in Spokane’s City Park neighborhood late last week, they discovered Ibtihal Darraji’s body in the wreckage. The 29-year-old woman’s remains were so badly charred, detectives weren’t immediately able to identify her. She had allegedly been choked and drenched in some type of fire accelerant, investigators said.
Friends of the dead woman, however, told police about the former couple’s contentious relationship and bitter divorce, claiming that Darraji was a control freak who was long-enraged by his wife’s perceived promiscuous Western lifestyle and had previously threatened to kill her.
Ibtihal and Yasir Darraji divorced about four years ago and have two children together. On the night of her death, Ibtihal texted her friend that she was on her way to pick up her son from Yasir and then would stop by to drop off a few things. She never arrived.
Friends interviewed during the investigation told police of multiple threats Yasir had made against his ex-wife over the last few years, court documents show.
Prior to her death, Ibtihal allegedly told co-workers she feared for her life, KHQ-TV reported. One witness told authorities that Yasir was furious his former spouse was dating and “going to night clubs.” He allegedly demanded she return to their native Iraq — or he would murder her, friends said.
“He tried before to kill her,” her friend allegedly told investigators. “He told her family what she did here. In our culture, what she was doing was not allowed. Where we are from, we are not supposed to do that. She did a lot of stuff you are not supposed to do. That’s why they divorced.”
Ibtihal worked at St. Aloysius Church until September, said Don Weber, the church administrator. Last summer she went home to Baghdad to visit her mother and when she came back, she told her co-workers that she feared for her life because family members didn’t want her to return to Spokane.
“Our understanding is she was part of an arranged marriage to her husband,” Weber said. Ibtihal was about 16 years old when she had her daughter. Her son was born a few years later and is in elementary school, Weber said.
An ex-girlfriend of Yasir told police he had threatened to kill her multiple times and assaulted her when she was pregnant with their child, according to court documents. One threat the ex-girlfriend remembered and told police was that Yasir said he would pour gasoline on her mother’s house and burn it down.
Yasir as “very jealous” and claimed he refused to let his former wife forge a new life. They alluded their friend’s death may have been an honor killing.
Ibtihal’s friend told police that Yasir was angry with Ibtihal for going out to “nightclubs.” She also told police that Yasir wanted Ibtihal to leave their children with him and move back to Iraq, and that if she didn’t, Yasir said he would kill her.