A Georgian citizen has been arrested for the murder of 31-year-old Australian citizen Shanae Brooke in Tbilisi.
According to the Interior Ministry, DNA ‘unequivocally confirmed the identity of the accused.’
The ministry said the suspect, identified only with the initials R. M. was born 1988 and lived in Tbilisi.
Brooke disappeared in the afternoon of 30 July on the trails of Mount Mtatsminda, above Tbilisi. Her body was found the following day. Police recovered a damaged knife from the crime scene. According to the Interior Ministry, the body showed signs of violence.
The accused has been charged with premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Brooke had lived in Tbilisi for a year, on Gogebashvili Street. According to the ministry, her friends reported that she frequently visited the forests near Mtatsminda park. On 30 July Brooke was due to meet friends but never showed up.
One of Brooke’s friends told journalists on 31 July that she was speaking with her on the phone on 30 July while Brooke was being attacked and calling for help. She never heard from Brooke again.
On 6 August, citing ‘unconfirmed information’, RFE/RL reported that the Interior Ministry had already identified Brooke’s killer.
The announcement that Brooke’s alleged killer had been caught came hours before a vigil in her memory was due to be held. ‘On 8 September, it will be 40 days since Shanae Brooke's murder. We want to gather a vigil honouring her memory and giving people a place to grieve together’, the organisers of the vigil wrote.