"I heard her screaming." Ruba Maasarwe recalls her final phone call with her sister, Aiia.


Just moments before her life was cut short, 21-year-old student Aiia Maasarwe was on the phone to her sister Ruba.

Last Tuesday night, the sisters had chatted about what Aiia had been up to earlier in the evening, and discussed their plans to see each other.

But then – a terrified scream, and what sounded like Aiia dropping her phone. Their conversation was brought to an abrupt end as the chilling attack unfolded.

What Ruba had heard was the moments before her sister was raped, murdered, and left half-naked near the Polaris Shopping Centre in the northern Melbourne suburb of Bundoora, where her body was found Wednesday morning.

“We spoke on the phone on FaceTime. We spoke about the stand-up comedy she saw and when we would next meet,” Ruba recounted to Israeli TV station Channel 13.

“Suddenly I heard her scream. I heard vehicles in the background of the call like there was a phone on the floor.

“There was no sign during the conversation of the horror about to happen.

“I heard her screaming and screaming and then the call was cut off.”

Aiia had called Ruba on her way home from a comedy show in Melbourne, where the Israeli student was living while on exchange with La Trobe University. She had FaceTimed her sister after stepping off a tram to walk about a kilometre to her home.

21-year-old student Aiia Maasarwe was on exchange from Israel. Image: Facebook.

Yesterday, a 20-year-old man was formally charged with Aiia's murder.

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.

“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.”

20-year-old Codey Herrmann has been charged with Aiia's rape and murder.

Aiia's grieving family welcomed the news. Her father, Saeed Maasarwe, who had travelled to Melbourne from Israel after being informed of his daughter's death, made a heartbreaking statement:

"It gives us a sense of comfort knowing that person has been charged.

"Our compass in this world and our life is not to point towards hatred and revenge.

"We don't have any other option but to be strong so we can pass through this very difficult time and painful stage and to continue living, providing for the other three girls, to support them and give them what they need."

On Friday, Mr Maasarwe attended memorials for his 20-year-old daughter, including one 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.

He said his daughter had spoken highly of her time in Australia, and was keen to extend her stay.

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


Aiia's cousin Manar said she had told her Australia was "wonderful" and encouraged her to visit the country

Aiia was loving her time in Australia. Image: Facebook.

"I told her 'it's a long flight, it's going to take a long time'. She said 'I know but you have to come here and see this. It's wonderful. I am enjoying everything'," Manar said.

Aiia's body has yet to be returned to Israel and is still with the Victorian Coroner.

Saeed Maasarwe has pleaded to take his daughter home to Israel so she could be buried in accordance with his Islamic faith.