Georgian law enforcers have arrested a 33-year-old man for the murder of Australian citizen Shanae Brooke Edwards in Tbilisi at the end of July.
The Georgian Interior Ministry has stated that the Georgian citizen living in Tbilisi, identified only as R.M., was arrested yesterday. DNA samples taken from the murder scene and R.M. point to his involvement.
The ministry said that more than 200 individuals have been questioned and DNA samples of the suspect have been sent to 194 foreign states.
The ministry did not say whether Brooke Edwards was raped before her death, but the Deputy Head of Tbilisi police department Kakha Muradashvili said at the press-briefing that "the body of a young woman was found with traces of violence".
Investigators also found the weapon of the crime – the knife in the damaged condition at the crime scene. Police underlined the search operation starts immediately as the report on her disappearance was received by her friends in Tbilisi.
"On July 30, Shanae Brooke was supposed to meet her friends, however did not appear on time, and since then communication with her has been cut off. Later on, Shanae Brooke’s friends filed a police report on her disappearance. As soon as the report was received, the search operation was initiated by the officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Several hundred employees of the Criminal Police, Emergency Situations Management Service and Special Tasks Department were involved in search activities," underlined Kakha Muradashvili.
The suspect was detained after police examined videos from the CCTV cameras in the area, had questioned more than 200 individuals, based on those evidences a facial composite was compiled.
“Biological samples were taken from several dozen people allegedly involved in the crime on the basis of which genetic examinations were appointed. All of them underwent a detailed interrogation. Alibis provided by the mentioned individuals to the investigation on their whereabouts at the time of murder were verified by various investigative measures. As a result of complex and multifaceted investigative activities, the circle of the supposed offenders was reduced to a minimum, whereas, as a result of genetic examination report the identity of the offender was unequivocally confirmed,” reads the police statement.
The crime is punishable by 7-15 years in prison.
Shanae Brooke Edwards, who went missing on July 30 afternoon after going hiking in Mtatsminda park in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, was found dead on July 31.
She was an English teacher who came to Georgia about two years ago.