A memory card found on the street contained videos of a woman’s murder. Police in Alaska arrested the man they think did it.
Harmeet Kaur, CNN
(CNN) — A 48-year-old man in Alaska has been charged with murder after authorities said an SD card found on the street contained videos and pictures of him killing a woman.
On September 30, a woman called police in Anchorage with a horrifying discovery.
She said she had found an SD card containing pictures and videos of another woman being strangled, beaten and raped, according to an affidavit of the criminal complaint. The SD card was labeled “homicide at midtown Marriott,” authorities said.
Detectives with the Anchorage Police Department opened an investigation, police said, and began reviewing the 39 photos and 12 videos found on the memory card.
They found disturbing images of a naked woman bruised and bloodied on a floor next to a bed, according to the affidavit. Videos showed the woman being strangled and struggling to breathe as a man laughed about it, the document said.
Detectives determined that the woman in the pictures and videos was killed during the first week of September, police said in a statement.
Two days after the SD card was turned in, police said they responded to a call about human remains that had been found near the Seward Highway in the southern part of the city. The remains, they believed, were of the woman in the photos and videos.
Authorities later identified Brian Steven Smith, a South African immigrant, as a suspect and arrested him at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on October 8.
According to the affidavit, a man named Brian Smith was registered at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Anchorage from September 2-4. The carpet in the images and video matches that hotel’s carpet, the document said.
CNN called TownePlace Suites and was referred to the general manager, who was not available at the time, for comment.
Smith did not enter a plea when he appeared in court for an arraignment on Wednesday. He will likely be assigned a public defender on Monday, according to the Public Defender Agency.
The victim’s name has not yet been released, although the affidavit described her as having dark hair, “possibly an Alaskan Native.” Police said detectives were working to confirm her identity and that the department would release her name once next-of-kin is notified of her death.
“The Anchorage Police Department extends its gratitude to the citizen who stepped forward with the evidence of this crime,” the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement. “They played an instrumental role in making sure Smith will be held accountable for his actions. This serves as another example of when you see something suspicious, say something.”
The department declined to comment further.