Photo Reveals Aiia Maasarwe’s Final Hours
Aiia Maasarwe spent her final hours learning English with friends in a park.
Aiia Maasarwe spent her final hours learning English with friends in a park. A photo was posted to Facebook of Maasarwe attending a “Let’s talk in English” meet-up in Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday.
Arun Chandran, who posted the photo, said Maasarwe was a “positive and friendly” person.
“I was shocked to find in the evening news that Aiia was the one who was killed after getting off Route 86 tram on Tuesday night,” Arun Chandran said on Thursday.
“I can't believe that something like this has happened in Melbourne. Aiia was studying English at La Trobe University.”
Vigil Planned For Tuesday Night
People in Melbourne will carry flowers while riding a tram through the city to where an Arab-Israeli student was murdered on her way home from a night out.
It's one of several vigils taking place after Aiia Maasarwe, 21, was found dead on Wednesday morning in Bundoora as police trawl CCTV footage and "saturate" the area with security until they track down her killer.
A silent service will also be held on the steps of Victorian Parliament on Friday night where mourners have been asked to wear black.
Event organiser Karen Pickering said Maasarwe's death is part of an epidemic of violence against women.
"Aiia Maasarwe was like so many other women and girls -- she was out meeting friends, exploring the city, taking in shows," she said.
"She should have been able to do that safely."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the "incredible shocking, despicable and tragic" attack.
"It's just so shocking. I mean, I'm speechless," Morrison told reporters on Friday in Fiji.
"Every woman in Australia, every person in Australia, should be able to travel home in safety.
Maasarwe had been living in Melbourne where she studied at La Trobe University for about six months.
She spent her final evening at The Comic's Lounge in North Melbourne on Tuesday night before being dropped off by friends at a Bourke Street tram stop in the CBD around 10:50pm.
Police say it's likely she travelled on the Route 86 tram to Bundoora, stepping off around midnight.
"It would be a short walk of less than 50 metres to the place on the pavement where we believe the attack commenced," Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said on Thursday.
He confirmed Maasarwe was talking to her sister on FaceTime when she was attacked at random. Her body was found in bushes nearby about 7am the next morning.
"This was an absolutely horrendous, horrific attack," Det Insp Stamper said, noting there was an "active line of inquiry" into whether she was sexually assaulted.
Maasarwe's family is numb with disbelief. Her uncle, Rame Maasarwe, described the 21-year-old as "a very happy person".
"She likes to have fun, she smiles all the time," he said. "The last thing we think will happen is something like [this] in Australia."
In a statement, one of Maasarwe's friends, Diana Rodriguez, said she was "the most pure girl that [she] has met in her life".
Someone just stole her life, her dreams, someone just stole our opportunity to see her become all the things that she imagined to be … I don’t wanna think that the people will forget this. I wanna have justice for my friend.
As a makeshift memorial grows in Bundoora, women in Melbourne are coming together in Maasarwe's honour. After the killing of Eurydice Dixon seven months ago, and of Jill Meagher in 2012, they are crying out to feel safe.
“As women, we stick together, we feel it. When it hits so close to home, it really affects you," said one woman.
“I live just across the road," said another.
"I don’t think woman should be discouraged to walk home."
The silent vigil will run from 6-8pm on Friday, but organisers have suggested people could arrive earlier or later.
Afterwards, mourners will fill the 8.01pm route 86 tram towards Bundoora with flowers before organisers of another social media group take them to the memorial.
A tribute will also take place at La Trobe University on Friday.
Meanwhile, police are canvassing CCTV footage after issuing a desperate plea for public information as they track down Maasarwe's killer.
Public Transport Victoria chief executive Jeroen Weimar on Friday said that footage from Tuesday's late-night route to Bundoora has been handed to investigators.
'There was certainly footage from CCTV files on that tram that Aiia was travelling on -- that's been provided to police," he told 3AW.
Police on Thursday released photos of two items of clothing located at the scene that they believe belong to the offender.
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Featured image: AAP / Instagram via Ruba Photography