Victorian woman found dead on Georgian trail

Emily WoodsAAP
Georgian authorities are investigating the death of Melbourne woman Shanae Brooke.
Camera IconGeorgian authorities are investigating the death of Melbourne woman Shanae Brooke. Credit: AAP

A Victorian woman has been found dead on a hiking track near the Georgian capital Tbilisi with local reports suggesting she was murdered.

Shanae Brooke, who is originally from Melbourne, had been teaching English in the country for about two years.

The 31-year-old was reported missing on July 30 after failing to return from a hike in Mtatsminda park near Tbilisi.

Georgian authorities said her body was found the following day and have launched a criminal investigation into her death.

“As a result of several hours of intensive search and investigative activities, the officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs found the female body on the slope of Mtatsminda,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Within the frames of the ongoing investigation, appropriate forensic examination will be appointed. All necessary operative and investigative activities are underway.”

An officer from the Australian Embassy in Turkey has travelled to Tbilisi “to liaise with Georgian authorities”, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said.

Local news organisation Agenda.ge reported one of Ms Brooke’s friends received a “disturbing call” while she was on the hike.

In a post shared to a Tbilisi Expats Facebook page, Emily Channon said Ms Brooke had called a friend “while she was being attacked and screaming for help”.

Tributes have been posted on social media in the days since her death, with Ms Brooke remembered as a “kind and giving adventurer”.

“Shanae was always up for an adventure, so kindhearted to those around her, full of laughter and a shining light. I lack the words to fully express what I feel however I only have love for her,” Sarah Richards posted in a tribute on Facebook.

Ms Brooke’s friend Nat, who lives in Melbourne, said she was “heartbroken”.

“And that doesn’t even come close to how shattered I am that this has happened to you,” she said on Facebook.

“You were the strongest woman I know, an incredible human being, always the life of the party, always radiant and positive no matter what life threw at you!”

The Melbourne woman fostered several kittens, and her friends have called out for people in the Tbilisi area to adopt them.

“She was taking care of 4 kittens and their mom cat from the streets. Her friends know HOW she loved them!” Lina Kha said in a Facebook post.

DFAT said it was providing consular assistance to Ms Brooke’s family.

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