MIA Confirms American Family Were Murdered in Dusheti

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) made a statement today confirming that American Ryan Smith, Founder and Director of ReWoven, and his wife, Lora, as well as their 4-year-old child Caleb, who disappeared on July 6, were murdered in Khada Gorge, Dusheti, Georgia.

Mamuka Chelidze, Head of the Main Division of Combating Organized Crime of the Criminal Police stated that the police arrested a man born in 1998 for murder charges, saying on July 4, after a confrontation, he shot Ryan Smith and his son and while the wife was trying to escape, she fell into the ravine and died.

Chelidze added the suspect then buried the body of the child to hide the crime, which was later discovered by police officers.

“The investigation was initially launched under Article 116, section 2 of the Criminal Code, which implies negligence to life. After receiving the primary data of the medical examination, the case was rectified to the Article on Premeditated Murder,” he stated.

The charges imply life imprisonment. According to Chelidze, a psychiatric examination of the suspect will be carried out to assess his mental condition.

“The detained person pleaded guilty. An investigation is in progress under Article 109 (2) (b) 3rd part "a" of the Criminal Code of Georgia on the fact of premeditated murder of two or more persons,” Chelidze added.

The husband and wife were citizens of the US but had Georgian citizenship, received in 2012. They had lived in the town of Marneuli for seven years and were well respected members of the local and expat community.

The official text of the briefing appears below: 

Briefing of Mr. Mamuka Chelidze, the Head of the Main Division for Combat Organized Crime of the Central Criminal Police Department of the MIA. We would like to inform the public about the fact of the terrible murder that took place in the Khada gorge a few days ago.
The officers of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as a result of operative-search and investigative actions, detained M.K (date of birth: 1998) on accusation of the premeditated murder of a minor under aggravating circumstances knowingly by two or more persons, including the offender. The crime committed by him entails life imprisonment. On July 6, "112" received a report on the loss of whereabouts of 2 individuals having the dual citizenships of Georgia and the USA, and their 4-year-old son. According to the report initiator, the missing persons were in the Khada Gorge, Dusheti region, and were not available for communication. Police officers and rescuers immediately initiated search activities and inspected the areas indicated in the report. The law enforcers found the vehicle and personal belongings of the missing individuals in Tskere village.
On the same day, as a result of intensive investigative activities conducted by the law enforcers and the rescuers of the Emergency Situations Management Agency, the body of Ms. L.S – date of birth: 1976 was found in the ravine near the waterfall; the initial examination demonstrated no sign of violence on the body of the deceased. The body of the second individual, R.S (date of birth: 1975) was found on July 7 in the vicinity of the waterfall in the gorge as a result of further searching activities.
The investigation was initially launched under the 2nd part of Article 116 of the Criminal Code, which implies negligent manslaughter. 
After receiving the primary data of the medical examination, the case was requalified as premeditated murder.
As a result of investigative and searching activities, law enforcers detained an individual (date of birth: 1998) accused of murder; the detainee pleaded guilty. As a result of investigation, the law enforcers also found the body of a minor (date of birth: 2014).
According to the investigation, on July 4 this year, in the area of the waterfall in Khada Gorge, as a result of a conflict, M.K fatally wounded R.S and his son by shooting using a hunting gun, while L.S. fell into the ravine when she attempted to escape from the scene and died. The detainee left the murdered man at the scene while the body of the minor was hidden in a landslide. Investigation is in progress under Subparagraph “b” of the 2nd part and the subparagraph “a” of the 3rd part of Article 109, the Criminal Code of Georgia - premeditated murder of a minor under aggravating circumstances knowingly by two or more persons, including an offender.
All relevant examinations are being conducted within the scopes of the investigations on the bodies of the deceased individuals. The crime committed entails life imprisonment. The issue of criminal insanity will be clarified by psychiatric examination.
The deceased lived in Georgia for more than 6 years; they received the status of dual citizens in 2012.
The investigation on the fact above is ongoing.

By Thea Morrison


09 July 2018 14:15