The naked and bound body of the transsexual Turkish asylum seeker was found lying in her apartment. Her hands had been tied, and there was a towel around her neck, which had been used to strangle her to death.
After a careful forensic investigation, DNA was found that was consistent with that of a 32-year-old Serbian man, according to a report in Austria's Kurier news daily.
The man had recently robbed a prostitute at a Thai massage studio in Ottakring. One day later, he robbed an alternative healer in Vienna. The latter was able to give an accurate description of the suspect, allowing police to make a quick arrest.
The man was already in custody for the armed robbery of the 54-year-old healer, when the discovery was made of the transsexual Turkish woman's body.
After being presented with the DNA evidence, the man made a full confession, explaining that he had an acute need for money, and had murdered the Turkish woman during a robbery.
He confessed to stealing money, personal items and two mobile phones from the woman, whom he had previously visited for sex. A search of the man's apartment found a cell phone belonging to the Turkish woman.
Police, together with Vienna's chief prosecutor, decided to publish the picture of the alleged perpetrator, as they believe he may be responsible for other crimes, and would like victims to come forward.
Notices should be sent to the Office of Crime Vienna, on the phone number 01/31310 extension 33800.
The Serbian murder suspect. Photo: Vienna Police
The arrest marks the latest in a record-setting series of solved murders, with homicide detectives in Vienna identifying suspects in every murder case in Vienna since 2010.
According to a press release from the asylum rights organization Asylum in Need, the transgender woman was not allowed to work, and therefore had turned in desperation to prostitution to support herself.
The organization criticized the current asylum system, saying that through a "lack of alternatives she was forced to look into the sex trade".
They further called for basic social support for asylum seekers, "from which one can live and is not forced into the underground economy or sex work".