An ex-convict has been charged with the murder of an American tourist in Grenada, a spokeswoman for the Royal Grenada Police told BuzzFeed News Wednesday.
David Martin Benjamin, 27, is due in court Wednesday morning on charges of murdering Jessica Lewis Colker, 39, on Sunday while she walking along a remote beach with her husband. Benjamin had served time for a previous rape conviction and was just released from prison at the end of November, police said.
Colker and her husband Brian Van Melito were allegedly attacked around noon by the machete-wielding man, the Associated Press reported. Melito told police that he fought with the attacker and went to call for help after getting away.
Police and residents of the area searched for Colker and found her body about an hour later in the woods.
Colker died from an extensive skull fracture and asphyxia, authorities said Tuesday. A motive for the attack was also unknown.
The Colkers, visiting from Atlanta, Georgia, were staying at a hotel near where the attack took place. The couple had walked from the more populated La Sagesse beach to a remote area.
The AP reported that a comment on the travel website TripAdvisor from March 10, 2015, warned of robbers on the beach: "We were robbed of all our cash today by a man wearing a mask and wielding a machete" in the daytime.
Grenada officials could not immediately be reached by phone on Tuesday.
Jessica Colker worked as a physician's assistant at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
"Jessica was a valued member of our Children's team. We are deeply saddened by this horrific news,” the hospital said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this very difficult time."
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
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Jessica Simeone is a news assignment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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