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Aiia Maasarwe killing: Arrest made in connection with case

CNN logo CNN 1/18/2019 By Joshua Berlinger, CNN

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Video by Reuters

Police have arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with the killing of Israeli exchange student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne, Australia, authorities said in a news release Friday.

Maasarwe's body was found early Wednesday in Bundoora, a suburb about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Melbourne's center.

The suspect was arrested by police in in Greensborough, another Melbourne suburb less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Bundoora, police said.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said Maasarwe, an exchange student at nearby La Trobe University, had been the victim of an "absolutely horrendous, horrific attack."

Police found a hat and a shirt about 100 meters (328 ft) from the crime scene, which Stamper said were believed to be left behind by the person responsible for Maasarwe's death and were "key to solving this crime."

Authorities released pictures of the clothing along with an image of Maasarwe from security footage the night she was killed in the hopes that members of the public might recognize something and come forward.

Police thanked the public for their assistance when announcing the arrest.

Security footage released by police shows Aiia Maasarwe Wednesday. © Victoria Police Security footage released by police shows Aiia Maasarwe Wednesday. The killing has shocked many in Melbourne, which is considered one of the safest cities on the planet.

Maasarwe's uncle, Rame, told CNN affiliate Nine News Australia her death was the "last thing" he expected in a country such as Australia.

"It's not easy for the family, it was shocking," he said."You never think anything (like this will) happen in Australia, it's a very safe place."

The incident comes months after female comedian Eurydice Dixon was raped and killed walking home from a performance in an inner-city Melbourne suburb, prompting a nationwide debate about the safety of women and the right to be able to walk home at night without fear of attack.

CNN's Sarah Faidell contributed to this report

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