Israeli exchange student, 21, found dead in Melbourne after 'horrific' attack

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(CNN) — A 21-year-old exchange student has been found dead in suburban Melbourne, Australia -- a city consistently ranked among the world's safest places to live.

Victoria Police said the victim, Israeli national Aiia Maasarwe, appeared to have been "seriously assaulted."

The La Trobe University student's body was found partially naked in bushes early Wednesday in Bundoora, a suburb about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Melbourne's center, CNN affiliate Nine News Australia reported.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said Thursday that further details about Maasarwe's injuries would not be revealed out of respect for her family.

"This was an absolutely horrendous, horrific attack that was committed against an innocent young woman," he said.

Investigators believe a T-shirt and cap found in bushes about 100 meters (330 feet) from the crime scene were left by Maasarwe's killer.

Stamper said the clothing was "key to solving this crime."

"Somebody in the community knows who did this. Somebody's come home on Tuesday night or in the early hours of Wednesday morning, maybe with blood on them, missing items of clothing," he said. "Somebody knows about this and we need help."

La Trobe University said its community was "shocked and saddened" by this appalling crime.

"La Trobe University is committed to providing a safe university environment. On campus we undertake a range of activities to improve personal and physical safety and our security has been intensified as a result of this incident," the school said in a statement.

"We are committed to continuing to work closely with all relevant authorities to address these serious community issues around public safety and violence against women.

The Israeli Embassy in Australia has yet to respond to CNN's request for comment Thursday.

Meanwhile, authorities have increased patrols and police escorts around Bundoora since Maasarwe's body was found.

Acting Superintendent Tony Ryan, from North West Metro, said the increased police presence would likely remain in place until the killer was caught.

"We understand that this distresses the victim's family. We understand that this distresses the local community. And we understand our role in this -- and that is we need to be in that area, and we need to provide some comfort and some safety," Ryan said.

Authorities released CCTV footage showing Maasarwe at the tram stop on Tuesday night in the hope members of the community could come forward with further details of her murder.

"We have a grieving family who has had to fly halfway across the world under the most horrific circumstances and we want to be able to give them some answers," Stamper added.

The death has sent shockwaves through Melbourne, which was ranked among the five safest cities in the world on The Economists' 2017 Safe Cities index. It was also ranked the ninth-safest city for personal security.

This story was first published on, "Israeli exchange student, 21, found dead in Melbourne after 'horrific' attack."