Nepal police search for body of slain Michigan native

Binaj Gurubacharya Associated Press

Kathmandu, Nepal — Police are searching a river in Nepal where the body of a 27-year-old teacher from Austin, Texas, was thrown after she was hammered to death, an official said Tuesday.

Police official Hari Bahadur Pal said authorities are looking for the body of Dahlia Yehia, who disappeared from the resort town of Pokhara in western Nepal last month.

Yehia was an art teacher at Sci-Tech Preparatory School in Austin, Texas, the Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper in Michigan reported. It said she was a Michigan native and graduated in 2011 from Kalamazoo College, where she studied art.

Police have arrested a local teacher, Narayan Paudel, who was hosting Yehia while she was in Pokhara to help victims of a devastating earthquake in April.

Pal said Paudel confessed to the crime and described how he hammered the victim to death and threw her body into the Seti River. Pal said police found blood-soaked clothes and ropes they believed were used to tie Yehia’s body.

Authorities believe the motive for the killing was money, with Paudel saying he took cash from Yehia, according to Pal.

He said authorities plan to seek the maximum sentence of life imprisonment for Paudel, 30, but that they need the body to help build a strong case.

Yehia arrived in Nepal in July and reached Pokhara on Aug. 4, staying with Paudel. She was killed three days later, Pal said.

Paudel was arrested Sept. 2 and confessed the next day, Pal said.

Following the April 25 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and damaged hundreds of thousands of houses in Nepal, aid groups and individuals rushed to the South Asian country to help the victims.