What we know about the man arrested over the death of Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe.


With AAP.

On Wednesday January 16, the body of 20-year-old Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe was discovered behind a hedge near a shopping centre in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora.

Police said the exchange student, who was studying at La Trobe University, had been “horrifically” attacked the previous night shortly after alighting from a tram on her way home from a comedy club.

For three days the local community and her family agonised as police continued their investigations. Then yesterday, a breakthrough. A 20-year-old man was arrested, and today formally charged.

“Homicide Squad detectives have charged a man with murder following the death of Aiia Maasarwe,” Victoria Police Sergeant Anita Brens said in a statement.

“Police would like to thank the community and the media for the assistance that they have provided during this investigation.”

aiia Masarwe
Aiia Maasarwe. Image: Instagram.

Media have named the man as Codey Herrmann, a self-described aspiring songwriter and rapper who has multiple social media accounts featuring posts about drugs and depression.

"Suicidal thoughts yeah, I've walked the line. The real fight was keeping all the demons in my mind on the inside," he rapped in a song posted to a website three months ago.

On January 8, Herrmann posted a short message to Facebook:
"International girl
Of mystery
You knows who you are."

Codey Herrmann. Image: Facebook.

The Age reported Herrmann, who performs under the name MC Codez, is believed to have been a troubled teenager and was reportedly in foster care along with his sister.

An unnamed friend told the paper, "As high school started he became a little bit depressed, a bit troubled and a bit into the drugs," she said.

"Most of his depression was because of his family stuff, he didn't have much family around at all. Just his sister, they were very close."

According to The Age, Herrmann was identified as key person of interest courtesy of forensic tests performed on clothing dumped near the scene.

He was was being questioned on Friday night, though no charges have been laid.


Still, Aiia Maasarwe's family welcomed the news. Her father, Saeed Maasarwe, travelled to Melbourne from Israel after being informed of his daughter's death.

On Friday, the grieving father attended memorials established in the 20-year-old's memory, including that at La Trobe University.

Mr Maasarwe waited until the crowds had left to inspect the tribute to his daughter - a framed photograph surrounded by candles and flowers.

"I feel very sad from one side but from another side when I hear this support and this help from the people, from the community, from the police, this is makes the suffer feel at least a little more better," he said.

Mr Maasarwe also attended another vigil at Melbourne's Parliament House on Friday evening where he sat among the hundreds gathered, wiping tears and holding a candle lit for his daughter.

"We appreciate all the people, the community here. It is really helpful, support it," he told reporters, saying she'd always see the good in a bad situation.

"She enjoyed, she had a good time here but then this has come, the very worst. The most worst it can be."