KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Police in Nepal were searching a river on Tuesday for the body of an American woman who had traveled there to help earthquake victims and was killed for her money, an officer said.
Dahlia Yehia, 25, was murdered in Pokhara, a city famed for its lakeside views of mountains, and her body dumped in a river, said Hari Bahadur Pal, a police superintendent in the town.
Yehia, a teacher from Austin, Texas, arrived in Pokhara on Aug. 4 to help victims of the earthquake that devastated the Himalayan nation in April, but was killed three days later.
In Austin on Tuesday, Yehia was remembered as “one of the cool teachers,” by Wayside Schools Sci-Tech Preparatory Principal Mary Brinkman in remarks posted on the Austin American-Statesman newspaper website.
“She was a soft-spoken teacher but she always had a smile,” Brinkman said of the teacher students called “Miss Y”, who had only been at the school for a few months before resigning to go help in Nepal.
Police have detained Narayan Paudel, 30, who played host to Yehia. Paudel had confessed to killing her for her money, in an attack with a hammer, Pal said. He then threw the body into the rocky gorge of the nearby Seti river.
“We are searching for the body for the past five days,” Pal said, adding that the search only began after the U.S. Embassy in Nepal informed police of the incident.
Police were using ropes to descend into waters at the bottom of the deep, narrow gorge, to look for the body, he said.
Paudel jumped out of a window at the police station after being detained and is being treated for a broken leg. He has yet to be charged, and could face life in prison if convicted.
More than 8,900 people were killed in this year’s earthquake, Nepal’s worst disaster on record, which prompted a massive international relief and rescue operation that drew in aid groups and individuals to help.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Doina Chiacu