A man has been arrested in connection with the alleged murder of a Victorian woman who was found dead on a hiking track in eastern Europe.
Shanae Brooke Edwards, who grew up in Warrnambool, had been teaching English in Georgia for about two years.
The 31-year-old was reported missing on July 30 after failing to return from a hike in Mtatsminda Park near Tbilisi. Ms Brooke Edwards’ body was found the next day and police also recovered a knife.
On Thursday morning (Australian time), local media Rustavi 2 TV reported that police had arrested Rafael Mursakulovi, a man who lived not far from the Australian woman.
Local officials named the suspect as “RM” and said the 31-year-old had been detained for “premeditated murder”.
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs said the suspect was identified as a result of DNA testing.
“Biological samples were taken from several dozen people allegedly involved in the crime on the basis of which genetic examinations were appointed,” a statement from the Ministry reads.
“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.
They said genetic examination had “unequivocally confirmed” the identity of the suspected murderer.
Police had gathered evidence with the help of Ms Brookes Edwards’ friend in the United States, whom she had been chatting to before she was allegedly attacked.
They also reviewed hundreds of CCTV clips and interviewed more than 200 people.