FBI Assists Georgia in Investigation of US Family Murder

The United States Embassy in Georgia has stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US is assisting Georgian law enforcers to investigate the murder case of American husband and wife - Ryan and Lora Smith, and their 4-year-old child Caleb in Khada Gorge, Dusheti, Georgia.

The Embassy does not specify any concrete details but said the Americans will be taking part in the technical examination of the camera and mobile phone found at the crime scene.

On July 11, Tbilisi City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of Malkhaz Kobauri, the 19-year-old shepherd accused of killing the Smith family.  Kobauri was arrested two days ago, after the bodies of the American couple and their child were found in the Khada Gorge. 

The husband and wife were citizens of the US but had dual citizenship with Georgia, received in 2012. They had lived in the town of Marneuli for seven years and were well respected members of the local and expat community.

A search was launched on July 6 after contact was lost with the couple. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) made a statement on Monday that a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, stating that on July 4, after a confrontation, he shot Ryan Smith and his son and while Lora Smith was trying to escape, she fell into the ravine and died.

The MIA added the suspect then buried the body of the child to hide the crime, which was later discovered by police officers.

If found guilty, Kobauri faces life imprisonment. At the trial he stated that he was not guilty, saying there were two strangers who killed the family.

However, the prosecutor assures it was the shepherd who showed them the location of the bodies and the personal belongings of the family, which were hidden with the body of 4-year old Caleb.

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, expressed his sorrow over the tragedy and offered his condolences to the Smiths' family members, relatives and friends.

“I am convinced that the offender will be duly punished before the law,” he stated.

The family of the accused young man says he could have never killed anyone, adding the “police want to blame him in order to close the case.”

By Thea Morrison

Photo source: neowin.net

Related stories:

Smith Family Memorial

Parents of Arrested Shepherd Deny He Killed US Family

Acting US Ambassador on Murder of American Family: We Are Shocked

MIA Confirms American Family Were Murdered in Dusheti

ReWoven & Beyond, Republished in Memory of the Smith Family

Murder in the Mountains: Investigation Ongoing

Geo Media: Deceased US Couple May Have Been Murdered




12 July 2018 07:00