Wash. Woman Was Strangled and Set on Fire, and Police Suspect Ex-Husband

Suspect Yasir A. Darraji and the victim got divorced four years ago

Ibtihal Darraji
Photo: Ibtihal Darraji/Instagram

A Washington woman was found strangled and set on fire inside her car, and her ex-husband has been charged.

Yasir A. Darraji, 30, is being held on a $1 million bond in connection with the death of 29-year-old Iraqi immigrant Ibtihal Darraji, whose body was found Jan. 30 in a burned white 2004 Toyota Prius Friday in Spokane’s South Hill.

Police said the mother of two had severe burns on her body and face, which made identification difficult, according to a Spokane Police Department affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.

“There was an accelerant detected on the victim and the victim’s clothing, indicative of arson with a motive to destroy evidence,” the affidavit stated.

Ibtihal’s friend told police that Darraji, also from Iraq, was allegedly angry about his ex-wife’s lifestyle prior to her gruesome death.

“Even though they were divorced in their culture the ex-wife’s lifestyle can still bring shame to the ex-husband,” the affidavit states. “Ibtihal had started to occasionally go to ‘night clubs.’ This angered Yasir.”

According to the affidavit, Ibtihal’s friend spoke to Darraji in December of 2019 and encouraged him to “move on” and let his ex-wife do the same.

“Yasir became angry and expressed that he wanted Ibtihal to leave her children and move back to Iraq. He told her that if she didn’t he would kill her,” the affidavit alleges.

Ibtihal and Yasir Darraji had divorced about four years earlier.

The same friend said Ibtihal texted her on Jan. 30 at 5:40 p.m. that she was on her way to pick up her son at Darraji’s house and then planned to drop by her friend’s house. She never did.

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Police spoke to Darraji the following day, and police allege he changed his story multiple times throughout the interview, though he admitted he got in an argument with his ex-wife because he claimed she’d been smoking marijuana.

Police also interviewed Darraji’s ex-girlfriend who alleged to police that he had assaulted and strangled her in the past.

She alleged Darraji “always kept a 2 gallon can of gas on his back porch.”

It is unclear if Darraji has entered a plea. He has yet to be assigned a public defender.

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