Hike attack man arrested and held in custody

Emma Kelly

The man who attacked Perth woman Emma Kelly while she was hiking in Argentina has been arrested by local police.
Source: PerthNow

ARGENTINIAN police have arrested a 30-year-old man over the assault on a Perth woman who was attacked while hiking.

Emma Kelly, 23, was reported missing on Boxing Day after she failed to return from a hike in the mountain area of Cajon Del Azul in southern Argentina. She was found disoriented and dehydrated four days later.

She told police a man had hit her with a rock and choked her until she passed out. He is believed to have taken her shirt and shoes.

Police said a local man had been arrested and they had evidence linking him to the attack.

Ms Kelly’s parents have flown out from Perth to be reunited with her.

Ms Kelly reportedly had been staying at a friend’s house in the town of El Bolson and on Monday had been driven to an easy hiking trail nearby.

When she did not return later that day, the friend’s family phoned police, who launched a search.

“This is not a difficult hike – the whole trail is wide and well marked,” said the friend, Bruno Meister. “It’s the first time something like this has happened in El Bolson. It’s a popular place,” he said.

Ms Kelly was flown by helicopter to a local hospital and Mr Meister said she was recovering well.

“She’s smiling. We’re cracking jokes with her. She’s trying to get over it,” he said.

Ms Kelly’s family thanked authorities for their work.

“They had a volunteer aircraft, they had helicopters, border patrol, they had everyone, and we thank everyone who was involved,” said her twin brother, Steve Kelly, who spoke to his sister in hospital.

“She was shaken up but through the conversation she was bubbly and making jokes.

“She became very relaxed and very happy when Mum and Dad were on the phone, and very excited. Physically, she’s doing well. She’s got a few cuts and bruises on her legs, but all will heal.”

Police responded quickly to an attack on two French tourists who disappeared while hiking on another Argentinian nature trail, in the Salta region, about 2000km to the north, in July. The women were found raped and shot dead, and three suspects were detained.


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