'We want justice': Brother of woman found dead in Jordan Lake demands answers

Tom George Image
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Brother of woman found dead in Jordan Lake demands answers
Hadeel Hikmat's death is now being investigated as a homicide, Chatham Co. Sheriff confirms. Her body was pulled from the lake on Tuesday, August 29.

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- The family of the woman found dead in Jordan Lake is looking for answers from half a world away.

Chatham County Sheriff's Office said the woman was 34-year-old Apex resident Hadeel Hikmat, and that her death is now being investigated as a homicide.

Her brother, Firas Hikmat lives in Istanbul, Turkey. He told ABC11 he had been concerned for his sister's safety before she vanished. Then, his heart sank when he learned she had been killed. Now, he is desperate for answers.

"We are burning," he said. "We lost our sister; we want justice."

Firas said his sister, Hadeel, was originally from Baghdad, Iraq, and studied chemical engineering. She moved to North Carolina in 2022 after marrying her husband, Omar Drabick.

"My sister Hadeel was so ambitious, so dedicated...she was working two places because she wanted to help her husband," Firas said.

The couple lived in Apex, and neighbors said they were friendly but quiet. Hadeel had recently also started working at the Walmart store near her home.

She always kept in touch with family back home, but recently Firas said he had become worried she was growing isolated from them.

Hadeel Hikmat (Photo: Family provided)

"She was fighting with (her husband). 'Why are you talking with your brother? Leave your brother. Your family is here in America, not in Istanbul,'" Firas said reenacting disagreements he claimed his sister and her husband were having.

Neighbors at the couple's home in Apex hadn't seen either of them since the end of August.

Her brother said when he didn't hear from his sister after texting back and forth, he felt something was off, and called Apex Police Department.

Just days later, their worst fears were confirmed when Chatham County investigators found Hadeel's body and said they were confident this was not an accidental death. Still, investigators haven't provided any detail on how Hadeel was killed, and haven't named any suspects.

"I trust US law. I trust the US Constitution, so we want justice," her brother said.

ABC11 reached out to phone numbers for both Hadeel's husband Omar and her in-laws in the Triangle but was not able to get in contact with them.

Chatham County Sheriff's Office said the case remains an open investigation. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact them immediately.