Man charged with murder in the death of Israeli exchange student in Australia

Melbourne one of the safest cities in the world

By MADELINE HOLCOMBE, CNN
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(CNN) - A 20-year-old man arrested in the killing of an Israeli exchange student in Australia has been charged with murder, police said.

The suspect will appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court shortly, Victoria police said in a statement

Aiia Maasarwe, 21, was studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne, a city consistently ranked among the world's safest places to live.

She was talking on the phone with her sister overseas when she suffered a "horrific attack," police said. Her sister alerted the police.

The La Trobe University student's body was found partially clothed in bushes early Wednesday in Bundoora, a suburb 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Melbourne's center, CNN affiliate Nine News Australia reported.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said Thursday that further details about her injuries would not be revealed out of respect for her family.

Police found a hat and a shirt near the crime scene that they believed were left behind by the suspect and were "key to solving this crime."

Then on Friday, police announced that they had arrested a suspect in Greensborough, another Melbourne suburb less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Bundoora.

Maasarwe's uncle, Rame, told the affiliate that 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."

Manar Masarwa, Maasarwe's cousin, told CNN she spoke with her about coming to visit Melbourne in the days before her death.

The victim told her life in Australia was "truly amazing" and she was planning on staying possibly until the late summer. It was their last conversation, Masarwa said.

The incident comes months after female comedian Eurydice Dixon was raped and killed walking home from a performance in an inner-city Melbourne suburb. The attack prompted a nationwide debate about the safety of women.

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