A man has been arrested over the alleged murder of Australian woman Shanae Edwards, whose body was found in the eastern European country of Georgia more than a month ago.
Ms Edwards was walking through Mtatsminda Park in Tbilisi on July 30 when she was allegedly attacked.
The Melbourne teacher, who had been living in Tbilisi for about two years, was on the phone to a friend at the time who heard her scream “please let me go, just let me go”.
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The Tbilisi Police Department said Ms Edwards was supposed to meet up with friends that day, however “did not appear on time, and since then communication with her has been cut off”.
“Later on, Shanae’s friends filed a police report on her disappearance,” police said.
Hundreds of officers were involved in the search for the young Australian woman, whose body was sadly discovered the following day.
“In the afternoon of July 31, as a result of intensive search operation, the body of a young woman was found with traces of violence,” police said.
“The weapon of crime – a knife was also seized by the law enforcers in a damaged condition.”
During the investigation, more than 200 people, including friends, co-workers, and neighbours of Ms Edwards were interviewed, along with people who were in the park on the day she was murdered.
DNA found at the scene of the crime was also analysed.
“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,” police said.
The suspect, a 33-year-old Georgian man known only as ‘R.M’ was arrested on September 8, with police confirming forensic experts were able to match genetic traces left at the scene with the man.
“Based on the evidence obtained through the process of investigation, including witness testimonies, video surveillance camera recordings, genetic examination reports and other evidences – R.M. was arrested on September 8,” The Georgian Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement.
The man faces between seven and 15 years in prison if convicted.