Sunday, September 19 2021

An Australian teacher was raped and murdered while hiking in Eastern Europe, and her terrifying final moments were overheard by a friend on the phone.

Shanae Brooke Edwards, 31, was walking alone on Mount Mtatsminda above Tbiilsi, Georgia, when she was ambushed on Friday and her body was found the next day.

Ms Edwards was on the phone to a friend in the United States on a hike when she was heard screaming “get your hands off me” – before the call was cut.

Shanae Brooke Edwards, 31, was walking alone on Mount Mtatsminda above Tbiilsi, Georgia, when she was ambushed on Friday and her body was found the next day.

Ms Edwards was calling a friend in the US on a hike when she was heard screaming

Ms Edwards was calling a friend in the US on a hike when she was heard screaming “get your hands off me” – before the call was cut

Ms Edwards called the friend a few moments earlier, who overheard her plead “please let me go, okay … let me go”.

She was seen in CCTV footage leaving her apartment at 3:35 p.m. on Friday, with her hair tied up, dressed in black hiking gear and carrying a green bag.

That afternoon, Natalia Karikh posted to a local expat Facebook group that she heard “a woman screaming on the trails under Mtatsminda Park” about an hour after Ms Edwards left her home.

Mtatsminda Park is a thriving tourist park with several adventure rides at the top of Mtatsminda.

Another woman wrote in the same group claiming to witness an ominous mountain view around the same time Ms Edwards went missing.

She claimed to have seen a man having “aggressive” sex with a woman about 50 meters away, as she and her partner were walking “exactly one day before the missing expatriate”.

Mrs. Edwards is remembered as a kind and caring person with a lover of adventure and animals.  Georgian authorities treat his death as a premeditated murder

Mrs. Edwards is remembered as a kind and caring person with a lover of adventure and animals. Georgian authorities treat his death as a premeditated murder

Ms Edwards went missing after being attacked on Mount Mtatsminda near Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where she was teaching English.  His body was discovered after a night search under Mtatsminda Park, which sits on top of the mountain

Ms Edwards went missing after being attacked on Mount Mtatsminda near Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where she was teaching English. His body was discovered after a night search under Mtatsminda Park, which sits on top of the mountain

Ms Edwards' phone was traced to Mtatsminda Park, a thriving mountain top tourist theme park where she was hiking when she was attacked and murdered.  A tram leading to the mountain is pictured above

Ms Edwards’ phone was traced to Mtatsminda Park, a thriving mountain top tourist theme park where she was hiking when she was attacked and murdered. A tram leading to the mountain is pictured above

Others urged her to report what she saw to the police, while several reported separate incidents of harassment by one or more men in the same area before.

Group members helped organize a search for Ms Edwards following the appeal. His phone was located at Mtatsminda Park, but initial searches were unsuccessful.

Ms Edwards’ body was recovered near a mountain trail on Saturday by researchers, including police with rescue dogs, volunteers and her friends.

She had been teaching English in the former Soviet republic for two years and had been traveling the world since 2016, when she left Melbourne.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into his death, which is being treated as premeditated murder.

Georgian Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri told local media that the suspect is believed to be a Georgian national – although this person is not yet in custody.

“The ministry and the police are doing their best to find the murderer … We [the Ministry of Internal Affairs] to have information, even if I cannot speak about it because of the interest of the investigation ”, he declared.

Ms Edwards posted a photo of herself on a mountain with the caption “Joy” on Instagram on Thursday.

Ms Edwards' latest Instagram post, of her on a motorcycle on July 29, was captioned

Ms Edwards’ latest Instagram post, of her on a motorcycle on July 29, was captioned “Joy”

Ms Edwards, from Melbourne, had been teaching English for two years in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and was known to have climbed Mtatsminda above Tbilisi before being murdered.

Ms Edwards, from Melbourne, had been teaching English for two years in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and was known to have climbed Mtatsminda above Tbilisi before being murdered.

She volunteered for various causes in Melbourne including helping the homeless and was an avid animal lover, having rescued stray cats in Australia and Europe.

Dozens of tributes to the “kind” and “adventurous” Ms Edwards flooded social media this week, many with memories from around the world as she traveled.

Many remembered how she helped them find their feet in a foreign country when they arrived, or how they met her when she moved in.

Elina Osmanova, posted a video of Ms Edwards after adopting a cat and her kittens, claiming that she cut short her vacation to care for them.

“She was that kind of person. Loving and caring. I miss her so much, ”she wrote.

Dozens of tributes to the 'kind' and 'adventurous' Ms Edwards flooded social media this week, many with mementos from around the world as she traveled

Dozens of tributes to the ‘kind’ and ‘adventurous’ Ms Edwards flooded social media this week, many with mementos from around the world as she traveled

Ms Edwards had been traveling the world since 2016 when she left Melbourne

Ms Edwards had been traveling the world since 2016 when she left Melbourne

Ms Edwards had volunteered in Melbourne.  His body was recovered by a team of volunteer researchers, including his friends, on Saturday July 31.

Ms Edwards had volunteered in Melbourne. His body was recovered by a team of volunteer researchers, including his friends, on Saturday July 31.

Another post called for help caring for and finding homes for a street cat and her four kittens that Ms Edwards was caring for.

‘Shanae helped this cat who came to her house to give birth. She let the furry family stay for a few months until the kittens got a little bigger, ”they wrote.

“She taught them to use the cat toilet, vaccinated and treated them all for parasites, and sterilized the mom cat.

“Her friends know how much she loved them!

Lina Kha posted on Instagram that Ms Edwards was “one of the truest people I have ever known”. The warmest friend you can find ”.

“I never told you how dear you were to me … You didn’t deserve to go like that, but I’m glad I had the chance to spend a few moments with you”, a- she writes.

‘You are forever on my mind. Every time I was riding a bike and playing around in my head I took a ride with my best friend from Depeche.

“Every time I saw an adorable Georgian house, every time I stood on top of a hill and saw beautiful nature, I saw you.”

Tributes to kind and adventurous Shanae Brooke Edwards have flooded social media since her brutal murder

Tributes to kind and adventurous Shanae Brooke Edwards have flooded social media since her brutal murder

Shanae Edwards has been described as fun-loving, adventurous and caring in tributes posted to social media since her murder

Shanae Edwards has been described as fun-loving, adventurous and caring in tributes posted to social media since her murder

‘Shanae was always up for an adventure, so kind to those around her, full of laughter and shining light. Words fail me to fully express how I feel, but I have nothing but love for her, ”Sarah Richards wrote.

Another friend, Natalie Curro, described her as “selfless, caring and tough as nails.”

Mr Gomelauri confirmed that there had been reports of women being followed by men in Mtatsminda Park, but denied that they had been assaulted.

Australia’s Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance to Ms Edwards’ family.

“The Australian government offers its deepest condolences to the family of an Australian woman whose death is under investigation by authorities in Tbilisi, Georgia,” said a DFAT statement.


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