Police Search for Body of American Humanitarian Volunteer Slain in Nepal
Suspect arrested, accused of bludgeoning Yehia and throwing her body in a river
By all accounts, Dahlia Yehia was a dedicated, compassionate art teacher in Austin, Texas.
It was that compassion that may have led to Yehia’s murder after she traveled to Nepal in July to help victims of April’s devastating earthquake.
When Yehia, 27, arrived in the small town of Pokhara on August 4, she was supposed to stay with a local teacher, Narayan Paudel, who she met virtually on a social networking site that connects international travelers with host families.
Three days later, she had vanished. Frantic friends and family started a Facebook page, hoping for answers.
Meanwhile, Nepalese investigators searched for answers of their own. After a month-long investigation, police arrested Paudel on September 2. According to authorities, he admitted to the crime, saying that he bludgeoned Yehia to death and had thrown her body into the Seti River. Two days after his arrest, authorities say, he tried to kill himself by jumping from the roof of the jail.
Police spokesperson Hari Bhadar Pal told the Chicago Tribune that the motive was financial, and that Paudel had taken money from Yehia. Paudel is also accused of taking her iPhone, which Nepalese officials used to track him down.
Despite Paudel’s confession, police are still looking for Yehia’s body. The case has been classified as a homicide.
With Yehia gone, her friends and family are struggling to make sense of the senseless killing of a woman who simply wanted to lend a hand in a time of need.
“We are devastated by this senseless loss of a beautiful life,” her friends wrote on her Facebook group. “For those who haven t had the joy of spending time with Dahlia, know that she is a giver, lover, and humanitarian, who devoted her life to others less fortunate both domestic and abroad.”
The statement continues, “Even though Dahlia was taken from us much too soon, she surely made her mark on the world.”
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