US Tourist Murdered in Grenada by Man With Machete

Jessica Colker died of 'extensive skull fracture and asphyxia'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2016 8:03 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2016 9:00 AM CST

(Newser) – An American couple vacationing on the Caribbean island of Grenada was coming back from a hike when tragedy struck in the form of what appears to be a "robbery gone wrong," police say, per NOW Grenada. Physician assistant Jessica Colker, 39, of Atlanta and her husband, Brian Melito, were strolling on the beach Sunday when a man with a machete attacked them, WGCL reports. Melito managed to escape, but Colker's body was found not far from were they had been assaulted about an hour after she was reported missing; autopsy results Tuesday showed that Colker died of "extensive skull fracture and asphyxia," reports CNN. Officials are still mum on a motive, but they have a suspect: NOW Grenada reports that Dave Benjamin, recently let out of jail after serving time for rape and "carnal knowledge," turned himself in to local cops on Monday.

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"What I can tell you now is that he is in custody," a Grenada police rep tells the site. "He was not captured, but he turned himself in and our investigations will continue." Colker and Melito, 62, had only been married for two years after meeting in Costa Rica at a dance workshop, per the New York Daily News, and then spending the rest of that vacation "dancing, talking, surfing, eating great food, swimming under the stars, and generally falling in love," according to the website they set up to celebrate their 2014 wedding. Now Melito, who apparently wasn't injured in the attack, and others are mourning Colker. "Jessica was a valued member of our children's team," her employer, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said in a statement, per CNN. "We are deeply saddened by this horrific news." (A US tourist mistaken for a thief died in India after villagers chased him into a rice paddy.)

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