“Oh dear! The view of Tbilisi is magnificent”, says Shanae on the phone, once arrived at the top of Mount Mtatsminda which overlooks the capital of Georgia. After a visit to the city center, where old medieval buildings and Orthodox churches rub shoulders with ultramodern constructions such as the Peace Bridge, lit up at night with thousands of LEDs, the Australian had decided to set off on her own to discover the surroundings.
And in particular to survey the surroundings of the somewhat outdated Mtatsminda amusement park where a few rides, a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel, are perched on this hill which dominates the city. At 31, Shanae, an English teacher, has never stopped traveling the world. She settled two years ago in Georgia where she gives language lessons. The young woman could have taken the funicular to get to the park but, sporty, she preferred to take the wooded paths. While she is on the phone with a friend living in California, her destiny will change in a few seconds at a bend in the road.
His stabbed body is found hidden in a ravine
“Don’t touch me. Please let me go, okay…let me go!” were Shanae’s chilling last words. The call is disconnected. She won’t answer anymore. The authorities of the country are notified. A notice of disappearance is launched. The latest images of Shanae come from CCTV cameras installed outside an Orthodox church in the city, which she had just visited on July 30. She is seen dressed in black yoga pants and a dark top, ready to set off on her hike. To find her, a hundred people participate in a search in Mtatsminda.
Hidden under bushes and branches in a ravine, Shanae’s lifeless body was found the following day, stabbed with stab wounds, near the Ferris wheel in Mtatsminda Park. An Australian national murdered near a tourist site in the capital: the news makes headlines in local newspapers. There is panic among the tourists. The craziest rumors circulate. In particular that tourists, from the top of the Ferris wheel, would have seen a man having aggressive sexual relations with a woman in the wood below, the day of Shanae’s disappearance. False.
“It does not look like a planned and professional assassination”, assure the investigators
“The motive for the crime of Mrs. Shanae Brooke Edwards is a robbery that would have gone wrong”, certifies the local police. Thus, the green bag where she had her identity papers and her wallet and which she carried on the video of the surveillance camera the day of her death has still not been found. And his cell phone, turned off, was not far from his body. “The victim has multiple injuries. I don’t know where this rape rumor came from, but I can assure you that there is no trace of sexual violence. To date, the rape is not confirmed “, insisted a police source.
The murder weapon, a “plastic-handled knife”, was found not far from the remains. “In any case, it does not look like a planned and professional assassination”, assure the investigators. The lead to a blond-haired suspect did not yield results. And, to date, no arrests have been made despite pressure from Australian consular authorities for the investigation to be successful.
“She taught in Colombia, Cambodia, Japan… She was an adventurer”
In Melbourne, where Shanae is from, her family is waiting to repatriate her body. A solidarity kitty, organized by his brother Tyson, raised nearly €15,000 (£12,780) in a few days to help with repatriation and the funeral. Shanae was a seasoned globetrotter, accustomed to traveling alone since 2016, when she left Australia.
“She taught in Colombia, Cambodia, Japan… She was an adventurer who loved being in the middle of nature, an avid hiker, a motorcyclist and a real benevolent soul”, explain her relatives. “She loved Georgia deeply. Her loyal friends in Tbilisi quickly raised the alarm and coordinated the tireless search efforts, bringing together volunteers and police to find our daughter, the young woman’s parents concluded. We let’s keep the memory of Shanae happy and where she wanted to be.”
Shanae Brooke Edwards © FACEBOOK SHANAE BROOKE