WARNING: This article contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some.
At the request of family of Nadia El-Dib, the young woman found dead in the back of a northeast Calgary home on the morning of March 25, police are releasing new details surrounding the domestic nature of her brutal death.
The 22-year-old woman was stabbed 40 times and her throat was cut in a vehicle before she escaped, police said Wednesday. She was shot twice while trying to run away and fell to the ground in the backyard where she was found five hours later.
Adam Bettahar, who was killed in a shootout with RCMP on March 29, was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for her murder.
Investigators say El-Dib and Bettahar were in a relationship in late 2017, but weren’t seeing each other at the time she was killed.
“My best friend and sister [died] at the hands of a disturbed young man who believed he had the right to murder her because she chose to exercise her right of taking ownership of her life, body and soul,” El-Dib’s sister Racha said at a news conference Wednesday.
“By saying ‘no’ to a man who was persistent on being with her, my sister Nadia made it clear that she would not give herself to him in any way.
“We know that because she fought until her last breath to get away,” Racha said, adding that defensive wounds were found on her sister’s hands.
WATCH: The family of Nadia El-Dib took the opportunity Wednesday to remind victims of domestic violence to seek help, after police confirmed her homicide was domestic in nature. Blake Lough reports.
It’s believed the two left a downtown Calgary shisha bar together at about 3 a.m. on the morning El-Dib was killed. At 4 a.m., police said El-Dib texted one of her friends saying she was frustrated that Bettahar wouldn’t bring her back to her own car, which was parked near the shisha bar.
Fifteen minutes later, police said Bettahar parked the vehicle behind a home in the 1000 block of Maitland Drive, where he stabbed her and cut her throat before shooting her.
Video evidence shows two muzzle flashes being fired, police said, which is consistent with forensic evidence that El-Dib was on the ground when she was shot a second time.
Investigators said Bettahar legally bought a semi-automatic rifle on March 10.
LISTEN: Sister of Nadia El-Dib raises awareness about domestic violence
Police weren’t called to the neighbourhood until 9:30 a.m., when her body was found, despite witnesses reporting the sound of gunshots in the early morning hours.
“The pain and loss has been felt by everyone,” Racha said. “And this has deeply hurt people because of the thought that this could have been any girl, this could have been anybody’s sister, friend, mother, daughter.
“But unfortunately, this time, it was my sister, Nadia, and I will use her name and voice to fight to support those who haven’t quite found that strength.”
WATCH: The family of Calgary’s latest homicide victim is reeling, trying to come to terms with her senseless death. Nancy Hixt sat down with the family of Nadia El-Dib, who is remembered for her bubbly, outgoing personality.
Racha said her sister’s death points to a larger problem in society when it comes to women finding themselves in violent situations.
“She was a strong young woman who fought and refused a man and that decision alone resulted in her death,” she said.
“Women live in fear for their lives every day of the repercussions of refusing a man. We are taught to give fake numbers, using the excuses of already having a significant other, and other methods to refuse a man in case ‘no’ just doesn’t mean ‘no.’”
The Calgary Police Service said while the numbers of domestic homicides are declining, the number of calls about domestic conflicts are on the rise.
“Domestic violence is a very real problem in our community and it crosses all neighbourhoods, age groups, ethnicities, religions and economic statuses,” the Calgary Police Service (CPS) said in a release.
“In total, police received 18,528 domestic conflict calls last year, a six per cent increase over the five-year average.”
Police said the majority of domestic calls are verbal altercations that escalate to a point at which police are called, or an instance where someone has asked police to be present when they move out of their home.
The number of calls involving physical violence have increased 45 per cent from the five-year average, police said, with 4,973 calls being classified in the last year. Police said while most victims of domestic violence are women, about one in five are men.
“This is community problem,” Staff Sgt. Paul Wozney said Wednesday. “This isn’t a problem for just one household on a street; this actually is a community problem and we need to be engaged as a community to help address it.”
Anyone that experiences violence or abuse in an intimate relationship is encouraged to reach out for help by calling Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network at 403 -237-5888 (Toll Free: 1-877-237-5888), the 24-hour Family Violence Helpline at 403-234-SAFE (7233), or 211.
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