An Alaska resident found a stray SD card lying on the street in late September and discovered gruesome content inside: images and video of a woman appearing to be assaulted and murdered.
This week, Brian Smith, 48, was charged with first-degree murder in the case, the Anchorage Police Department said in a Wednesday statement.
The memory card, which was labeled “homicide at midtown Marriott,” was given to police by the woman who found it, charging documents obtained by NBC affiliate KTUU in Anchorage showed. It had 39 images and 12 videos that recorded the alleged crime.
The graphic videos show a woman being strangled and a man’s voice saying “just...die,” the Associated Press reported.
Police were able to identify Smith, a native of South Africa, from the video after recognizing him from a separate, unspecified investigation, in part because of his accent.
After human remains were found along a highway just south of Anchorage two days after the memory card was found, police were able to start putting pieces together.
Cellphone records trace Smith to having been at the place where the remains were found within minutes of when the last photo on the SD card was taken, police documents outline.
Anchorage police think the human remains belong to the woman seen on the memory card, and the medical examiner is working to confirm the connection and the cause of death.
Police did not say why the SD card was in the street, but they believe Smith recorded the images himself, according to the AP.
Smith remained in jail on Wednesday where he is being held on an outstanding warrant. Police said they will release the name of the deceased woman once her identity is confirmed and family is notified.