Exclusive: Aiia Masarwa's Father On The Moment He Found Out His 'Angel' Had Been Murdered
After Saeed Masarwa had not heard from his daughter in 12 hours, he knew something was wrong.
In an exclusive interview with The Project, Mr Masarwa reflected on his daughter Aiia, and said from the day she was born he knew she was "special".
"She was like angel," he said.
"The smile, the face, very smart when she was very, very young."
Mr Masarwa said Aiia had researched Australia before making the decision to study here, telling her father it was a "safe country".
"She had two options to go to Melbourne, Australia or to go to New York. She have choose Melbourne because she like this country, she read about this country before the take the decision," he said.
"It's nice beautiful country, safety country, nice culture. This is I remember she mentioned to me.
"So I tell her 'okay, no problem, I will support you'."
Mr Masarwa said Aiia studying in Australia was his way of giving his daughter opportunities he didn't have as a child.
"This is our job the parents, we need to give to our child the best as we can," he said.
"This is the way we need to make world more beautiful and more nice, and more colourful."
Mr Masarwa recounted the hours before he found out about his daughter's death.
Another of his daughters, Noor, who is studying in Shanghai, called Mr Masarwa to tell him she had not heard from Aiia in nearly 12 hours, after their call had been cut.
"That day at about 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock China time, my daughter Noor ... she call me, tell me 'my father, we already about 10 hour, 12 hour we not successful to contact with Aiia'," he said.
"It's strange every time we call Aiia, even if not available or busy, after five minute or 10 minute she call back, or send message".
Mr Masarwa contacted a family friend living in Australia, Mr Mahmood, to help find Aiia, but two hours later he was told the news no father should ever hear.
"This about 12 o'clock already in China time, and about 2 o'clock about two hours later he update me," Mr Masarwa said.
"I pray is not true, I pray is dream. I pray is not Aiia."
Aiia had spent Tuesday evening with friends practising English in a local park, before going to a comedy show at the The Comic's Lounge club.
She was last seen being dropped off at the Route 86 tram stop on Bourke Street, before likely getting the tram to Bundoora.
Aiia's body was found on Wednesday morning outside of a Bundoora shopping centre.
A 20-year-old man was charged with Aiia's rape and murder on Saturday.
He faced Melbourne's Magistrates Court on Monday and made no application for bail.
The man will appear via video link for a committal mention on June 7.
Mr Masarwa, who attended Friday's vigil for his daughter, thanked the Australian public for their support since he arrived in the country on Thursday.
"You can not imagine when we see like this how much is helpful, how much we support," he said.
"This has really support us and give us huge power."
Mr Masarwa said his message is that his family's tragedy should not in vain.
"If this, our tragedy can change a little, can make the world, make Australia also more better and more beautiful, and can save the life of more people."