An Irish woman arrived in Goa Feb. 23 to celebrate the Holi festival on Palolem beach Monday, but she never left. That's because the body of 28-year-old Danielle McLaughlin was discovered by a local farmer the following day. She was raped and killed.
"We had sent the body for a post mortem examination. Reports confirmed that Danielle was raped before the murder," Deputy Superintendent Sammy Tavares of the Goan police told the Agence France-Presse Thursday. Her body was, “Lying in a pool of blood without clothes and there were injuries on the head and face,” he said.
Police charged 23-year-old Indian man Vikat Bhagat with the murder of McLaughlin. Locals spotted him with the victim on the beach, according to Hindustan Times. "He has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity," Tavares told the publication Thursday.
He continued: "Besides the earlier charge of murder we have also booked him for rape. The accused will be in police custody until March 22 after which he'll be produced in court."
Over the past decade, several foreigners died in Goa, including 15-year-old British student Scarlett Keeling in 2008. Her bruised, half-naked body was found at Anjuna beach.
Mclaughlin hailed from Liverpool, but grew up in Ireland’s Buncrana in County Donegal, The Independent reported. She worked at a local bar in Liverpool, called The Pumphouse Albert Dock, which paid tribute to her Wednesday.
"Very sad to hear we have lost one of our old team members Danielle McLaughlin in Goa this week," the pub wrote in a public post. "She was only 28. Goodbye, Danielle. Deepest condolences to her family in Ireland."
McLaughlin’s mother, Andrea Brannigan, issued a statement Wednesday. "The family would like to express our thanks to all who have got in touch since receiving this awful news," McLaughlin said. "As you can expect, we are finding it very difficult at this trying time. Danielle will be sadly missed by us all."