The Cable

State Department employee murdered in Brazil

A State Department employee on vacation in Brazil was strangled to death last week, and a suspect for the crime was arrested Thursday. Victoria Tcaciuc, age 38, had worked for the State Department for less than a year. She was a financial analyst working as a contractor for the comptroller of the Bureau of Consular ...

A State Department employee on vacation in Brazil was strangled to death last week, and a suspect for the crime was arrested Thursday.

Victoria Tcaciuc, age 38, had worked for the State Department for less than a year. She was a financial analyst working as a contractor for the comptroller of the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, a State Department spokesman told The Cable.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Department of State contractor Victoria Tcaciuc," Acting Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell told The Cable. "We express our deepest condolences to her friends and loved ones. Officials from the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro are providing all appropriate consular assistance. We refer you to local authorities for details on the investigation." 

Tcaciuc was a native of Moldova and a naturalized citizen of the United States. Rivaldo Barbosa, head of the Rio De Janerio police department’s homicide division, said Thursday that Tcaciuc was strangled in her hotel room Feb. 20 and discovered by hotel employees the same day.

Ventrell said at Friday’s briefing that Tcaciuc was not in Brazil on any State Department business and she was there on a personal visit. The State Department is providing consular assistance to her family, but the U.S. government is not involved in the criminal investigation into her death at this time. 

"My understanding is that this is the Brazilian authorities’ investigation," Ventrell said.

Brazilian authorities have arrested a suspect, identified by Barbosa as Alessandro Rufino Oliveira Carvalho, whom Barbosa said acknowledged being in Tcaciuc’s hotel room but denied killing her. Carvalho left the hotel less than an hour after entering it and traveled to Sao Paulo. He was arrested Thursday when he returned to Rio, Barbosa said.

Tcaciuc and Carvalho met at a crafts fair, had lunch, and then went to the hotel, according to Barbosa, as reported by the AP.

"We suspect that he killed her because she refused to have sex with him," Barbosa said.

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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