Exchange Student Murdered In 'Horrendous' Attack While Talking With Sister On FaceTime

Police have released CCTV images of Israeli college exchange student Aiia Maasarwe in her final hours.

By Jill Sederstrom

A college exchange student was killed in Australia this week on her way home from a comedy show while talking with her sister on FaceTime.

As Aiia Maasarwe and her sister talked while the Israeli college student made her way home from the show, something horrifying happened. Her sister told police she "heard the sound of the phone falling to the ground and heard some voices," Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said, according to the BBC.

The Victoria Police said Maasarwe, who was living in Melbourne, Australia while attending classes at La Trobe University, was "seriously assaulted" and killed in the attack, according to a statement from the department.

Her body was discovered Wednesday morning, not far from where police believe she had gotten off the tram on her way home.

"Our presumption at this stage is that this was a random attack and opportunistic," Stamper said.

Police have called the attack "horrendous" and "horrific" and said it's possible Maasarwe may have been sexually assaulted.

In an effort to encourage potential witnesses to come forward, the Victoria Police homicide detectives released CCTV images of Maasarwe that depict what the 21-year-old had been wearing in her final hours. The grainy images show a girl with dark curly hair wearing a white top and black skirt.

Police also released photos of two items found near the body that they believe "likely" belonged to the killer. The photos show a t-shirt that has dark shoulders, sleeves, and a light gray body, along with a black cap that says "1986."

“There will be someone out there who has seen a person wearing this clothing, and we really need them to come forward and provide us with that information,” Stamper said, according to the release.

Her family is now left grappling with the loss of the adventurous college student, who they said loved to travel and discover new things.

"She's positive, she likes to have fun, she's a very friendly person, you know," her uncle Rame Maasarwe said according to The Age.

Rame Maasarwe, who lives in the United States, described his niece as a good person who was close with her family.

"I can't believe that something like this has happened in Australia. It's not safe there in Australia?" he asked. "We think America is dangerous, not Australia."

One of her classmates, who asked not to be named, also told the publication that Maasarwe had asked him and some other classmates to attend the show with her but he wasn't able to attend.

He described her as the "kindest girl" and said he was shocked by the news.

"I found out yesterday evening," he said. "In that moment, we all, all the students, we couldn't accept it. We didn't believe it. You know, she was an exceptional student."

Her father had already arrived in the country to begin the process of retrieving his young daughter's body to take home to Israel, BBC reports.

Her sister, who was on the FaceTime call at the time of the attack, is reportedly so traumatized by the death that she won't leave her room, Australian news channel 9News reports.

Police have asked that anyone with information about the brutal attack come forward.

“We have a grieving family who has had to fly halfway across the world under the most horrific circumstances and we want to be able to give them some answers," Stamper said.

[Photo: Victoria Police]

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