A digital memory card found on a street in Alaska’s largest city contained videos of a woman being strangled and pictures of her face down in the back of a truck, according to police and a charging document released Wednesday.
Anchorage police believe human remains found along a highway earlier this month are those of the woman. Authorities said they are working to identify her and her manner of death.
Police said they arrested Brian Steven Smith, 48, on a murder charge Tuesday. Smith had a brief court appearance Wednesday in which he was not asked to enter a plea. A judge said he would appoint for Smith a public defender when Smith said he could not afford a lawyer.
Deputy District Attorney Brittany L. Dunlop said the process calls for the case to be brought before a grand jury. The investigation continues.
A charging document filed by the Department of Law and based on a review of the investigation so far graphically describes the images and videos on the card, which someone last week reported finding on a street in Anchorage. The card contained 39 images and 12 videos, the document states.
The videos show the woman being strangled, with a man’s voice in one saying “just … die,” according to the document. There are pictures of the woman under a blanket on a hotel luggage cart near a truck and in the truck bed, the document states.
Police spokesman MJ Thim said police believe Smith recorded the events himself. He said police believe the killing occurred in early September.
Smith lives in Anchorage but is from South Africa, Thim said.
Police reviewing the footage remembered Smith, who has an accent, from another investigation and found he was registered in early September to a room at a local hotel whose carpet matched that in the footage, the document says. They also used vehicle and cellphone records in their investigation.