The pain of losing a daughter on the other side of the world is a helpless feeling, Elke and Dale Lapthorne sadly know all too well.
As Melbourne and the rest of the world grieves the death of Aiia Maasarwe, the couple have spoken out to try and help ease the pain for her family.
“We really want to give Aiia’s family our love and support for our condolences,” Ms Lapthorne said.
“Our daughter went through a similar situation. The circumstances are so similar, just reversed to the other side of the world and to think this event happened in our backyard is just beyond belief for us,” Mr Lapthorne added.
Their daughter Britt went missing in Croatia 10 years ago.
Her body was found in the ocean three weeks later..
Her cause of death was never determined, but it’s believed she too, was murdered.
“The circumstances are so similar. Both 21, both uni students, both lived in China. Both out for a night which they expected to get home safely,” Mr Lapthorne said.
They, like Aiia’s father Saeed, travelled to their daughter’s place of death, searching for answers.
And they say the support they received while abroad, helped them get through the horrific time.
“We have questions on decisions we’ve made, decisions our children have made.
“We’ll question that for the rest of our life but we felt we just needed to say something to the parents,” Mr Lapthorne said.
Ms Lapthorne also had some advice for the Maasarwes for the next tough task of burying their daughter.
“You just have to stay strong,” she said.
“All we can say is you’re not alone, but that’s of little consolation, but you’re not alone,” Mr Lapthorne said.
An aspiring rapper accused of the murder and rape of international student Aiia Maasarwe is due to appear in a Melbourne court.
Alleged attacker to face court again
Codey Herrmann, 20, is expected to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday on charges of murder and rape in relation to Ms Maasarwe’s death in Bundoora.
The homeless man has been remanded in custody after a brief appearance in the same court on Saturday, when charges had been laid against him.
He is alleged to have assaulted and killed the 21-year-old woman on January 16 near where she alighted a tram.
Police arrested the man on Friday in the nearby suburb of Greensborough after an extensive investigation into the death of Ms Maasarwe, a Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship.
Body to be released
The Victorian coroner is expected to release the body of Ms Maasarwe on Monday.
Her body is expected to be given to a funeral director for repatriation.
Her father, Saeed Maasarwe, had asked for his daughter’s body to be released so he could lay her to rest.
“(To) take her home for a proper burial and funeral,” he told The Age on Sunday while he attended a tribute in her honour.
About 1000 people gathered outside a mosque in Israel on Saturday calling for her return, chanting “we need Aiia home” and “we are all Aiia’s sisters, Aiia is the daughter of all of us”.
Her sister Noor Maasarwe had been watching the news when she realised her sister had been found dead in Melbourne.
“They didn’t say for who it was,” Ms Maasarwe told Nine News on Sunday from Israel.
“But it matches all the details. It was on the same road. Everything. I was just praying that it’s not her. Then I saw the shoes and her phone … I was sure it was her.”
Ms Maasarwe alighted a tram in Bundoora moments before she was attacked.
Her body was found near a shopping centre about 7am on January 16.
Aspiring rapper Codey Herrmann, 20, is due to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday accused of her rape and murder.
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