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News 07 Aug 14

Savage Murder of Teen Shocks Serbia

Minister has said he is sorry that Serbia no longer has the death penalty, after the body of  15-year-old Tijana Juric is found in a shallow grave.

Gordana Andric
BIRN
Belgrade
Tijana Juric, 15-year-old, was missing since July 26. | Photo: Facebook Group Pomozite da se nadje Tijana Juric

Serbia's Interior Minister said he regretted that the country had abolished the death penalty following the discovery of the body of a teenage girl who had apparently been murdered in a particularly brutal fashion.

Serbian police on Wednesday arrested Dragan Djuric, a 34-year-old butcher from the Belgrade neighbourhood of Surcin, for the murder of Tijana Juric.

The suspect later took police to a shallow grave on a dump near the town of Sombor in northern Serbia, where the body of the 15-year-old girl from the Bajmok, some 30km from Sombor, was found.

Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Interior Minister, said that on the night of the murder Djuric was visiting Bajmok.

Djuric allegedly hit Tijana with his car, then got out and start hitting her when she started calling for help, and eventually dragging her into his car. He then drove the girl to an empty field and killed her.

Reconstruction of the night when Tijana went missing revealed that the girl was alone for only seven minutes.

On the evening of her abduction, Tijana was with her friends at a sport tournament in Bajmok. Around midnight, along with two friends, she started walking home, but decided to return to the sports field to give back a shirt she had borrowed from a friend.

She went back the same way alone. About 25 minutes later, she met a few friends and moved on to the sports field.

At about the same time, her friends called the boy to whom Tijana was supposed to return shirt. The boy started walking into her direction in order to meet her.

However, some 100 metres from the sports field, he founds Tijana’s training shoe and a nail. The police have confirmed that this is the spot where she was hit by the car.

“From the moment she was last seen to the moment when her snicker was found only seven minutes passed. Every trace of her is lost on the dirt road near a canal,” Tijana’s father told the daily newspaper, Blic.

After the murder, he returned her body to the car, drove to a dump, threw the body next to the road and covered it with earth.

Police are still investigating whether the girl was sexually assaulted.

“When we located him, he behaved like nothing had happened. There were no sighs of remorse. That is something that has marked the whole probe – a complete lack of any remorse,” Stefanovic said on Thursday.

According to Stefanovic, the preliminary investigation showed that the murder was not planned and there were no contacts between murderer and the girl before the crime.

“At times like this, I regret we do not have the death penalty,” Stefanovic said.

He said he expected the killer to receive the severest punishment that the law allows.

“Everyone from the police who worked on this case is deeply shaken by this cruel murder," he said.

Police believe that Juric, who went missing on July 26, was murdered the same night.

Along with Serbian police, police in neighbouring Hungary and Interpol were also searching for the girl.

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