A police affidavit released Wednesday described a brutal beating captured on video and in photos that led officers to arrest Brian Smith, 48.
Police were given an SD memory card filled with videos and photos that showed a naked woman being beaten on the floor of a room in a hotel room in Midtown Anchorage, according to the affidavit.
Other images showed her being strangled by a man who was yelling at her in what sounded like a foreign accent. The woman attempted to fight back, the affidavit said.
Other imaged showed the woman covered in a white sheet, being moved through a parking lot to a truck.
The woman, who has not yet been identified, is described as having long dark hair and possibly being Alaska Native.
Police recognized the man in the videos as Brian Smith, an immigrant from South Africa police knew of from a previous investigation.
Smith was registered to the Marriott Hotel the nights the video was taken, according to the affidavit. Smith and his wife also have a truck matching the one in the images, and pings from his cell phone put him along Rainbow Valley Road, along the Seward Highway, near where the womans body was found.
Police said Wednesday they have arrested a 48-year-old Anchorage man on murder charges after someone found a digital card containing videos and photos that documented him beating and killing a woman in a hotel room.
Detectives recognized Brian Steven Smith on the video because he was already involved in a separate case, an Anchorage Police Department spokesman said.
Smith was taken into custody on an arrest warrant for first-degree murder Tuesday afternoon at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, police said in an online release Wednesday. He was questioned by detectives and taken to the Anchorage jail on the warrant.
Smith was coming back to Anchorage where he lives, APD spokesman MJ Thim said. He is originally from South Africa.
The graphic videos were shot in a Midtown Anchorage hotel room in the first week of September, Thim said. It appears that Smith recorded them himself.
Detectives recognized Smith when they began watching the videos because Smith is involved in a separate ongoing investigation, he said, declining to provide any information about that case or whether police believe Smith may have other victims.
The woman, whose body was found last week near the Seward Highway south of Beluga Point, had long dark hair, Thim said. We still dont know who she is and we dont know much about her.”
The arrest came after someone called police dispatch on Sept. 30 to say they found an SD card containing a video of a homicide, police said. The caller later told officers the card — a small memory card used in portable devices — was lying on the street in the Fairview neighborhood.
Thim said the arrest hinged on two aspects of the investigation: the citizen who chose to call police when they found that card, and the coordination between law enforcement agencies handling the separate cases of the videos and the body.
Detectives knew almost immediately that something was wrong, that someones loved one was killed when they found her remains, he said.
The case marks the second killing in less than six months involving a video. A Snapchat video showed two of the teens accused of killing 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman at Thunderbird Falls in June apparently discussing the crime.
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – An SD memory card found in the street has led police to arrest a man for murder regarding the human remains found near the Seward Highway last week.
Anchorage Police say 48-year-old Brian Steven Smith has been arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of the woman who police say is listed as a Jane Doe.
Police say a woman called them Monday, Sept. 30, to say shed found an SD card that contained video of a homicide. The woman told police shed found the SD card in the street in Fairview.
Police say there were several images and videos that appeared to show the assault and homicide of a woman.
Two days later, on Oct. 2, officers were called to Milepost 108 of the Seward Highway, where human remains were found. Police believe the remains are of the woman shown in the video.
“Once we viewed images on the SD card, we notified our detectives in the homicide unit and they took over that part of the investigations,” APD spokesman MJ Thim said.
Thim says investigators were able to quickly identify the suspect in the video because detectives were familiar with him from a separate ongoing investigation. Thim would specify neither the nature of the separate investigation nor Smiths role in it.
Smith was arrested at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Tuesday without incident. Thim says he was returning to Anchorage when he was arrested. Thim says Smith is the only suspect in the case.
Police believe the crime took place in Anchorage in the first week of September at TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Midtown. APD says the first recording on the SD card was taken on September 4 and other images were created a few days later.