A fourth person was finally named today in connection with the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who was killed in her apartment earlier this month while studying abroad in Italy.
After days of speculation in the Italian press about the identity and the possible existence of a fourth man at the scene of the crime, the Italian police said today that they would like to question Rudy Hermann Guede, a 20-year-old Ivory Coast native, in connection with Kercher's murder.
Kercher's American flatmate Amanda Knox, 20; Knox's Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24; and a Congolese man named Patrick Lumumba, 37, have been in custody since Nov. 6. All three are being held on suspicion while the prosecutor continues his investigation.
Police have released no official details about Guede or his connection to the crime other than his name, age, place of birth and a photograph. But local press reports this week sketched a picture of a man who has had a history of petty crimes during the last several years.
Reports from the Italian news agency ANSA and other publications say Guede came to Perugia with his father when he was 5 and has lived in Italy ever since. He was reportedly fostered by a well-off Perugia family until he was 18 but reportedly broke relations with them recently.
Investigators are quickly trying to gather information about him and his activities in Perugia. He is not unknown to the police however.
Guede reportedly moved to Milan sometime in the last two years and was stopped by police a couple of times for petty crimes during this period. He is believed to have returned to Perugia in the last few months and been stopped and fingerprinted by local police for alleged drug pushing, but he was not arrested.
News reports suggest forensic experts identified him from a bloody fingerprint, including one on Kercher's pillow found in her room under her body and others in the bathroom. Initial press reports in Italy say he fled Perugia the day after the murder but some witnesses now say that he has been seen in town more recently.
Guede reportedly played on the Perugia junior basketball and his friends in Perugia described him as a "perfect boy who was helpful to others." He was well-known in the student community and frequented the Merlin bar where Kercher was known to go, according to media reports.
ANSA reported that Guede's foster mother in Perugia cried when she was told he was wanted by police.
Other Suspects May Benefit
Kercher, 22, was found with her throat cut on Nov. 2 in the house she shared with Knox and two others.
On Thursday forensic experts found traces of DNA from Kercher and Knox on a kitchen knife from Sollecito's rental home. None have been charged with involvement in the murder yet.
If Guede is arrested, it could change the position of the other suspects.
Today Sollecito's lawyers told reporters in Perugia that they believe computer experts have found proof that Sollecito used a computer in his home during the hours when the murder was believed to have been committed. This could prove that he was at home the night of the murder, as he has insisted since his arrest.
More forensic results are expected in the next few days that could help clarify who exactly was in the room that night and who murdered Kercher.