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U.S. Contractor Strangled in Brazil

A dream vacation in Brazil turned tragic for State Department contractor Victoria Tcaciuc, 38, who was found strangled in her hotel room last week.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Department of State contractor Victoria Tcaciuc," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said today. "We express our deepest condolences to her friends and loved ones. Officials from the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro are providing all appropriate consular assistance."

Tcaciuc, who hailed from Moldova but had become a U.S. citizen, was working as the State Department as a financial analyst in the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington D.C., according to a senior State Department official.

Rivaldo Barbosa, who heads the Rio de Janiero police department's homicide division, told the Associated Press that Tcaciuc was found dead in her hotel room on Feb. 20 by hotel employees. Police have arrested Alessandro Rufino Oliveira Carvalho, who Barbosa says was seen entering and leaving Tcaciuc's hotel room.

Carvahlo admits being in Tcaciuc's room that day, but denies killing her, according to the AP. Barbosa told reporters that the two met at a crafts fair, hand lunch and then went to the hotel where police suspect she was killed after refusing to have sex with Carvalho.

Ventrell said that the United States is not involved with the investigation, but is cooperating with Brazilian authorities. He also confirmed that Tcaciuc was in Brazil for a holiday, not for business.

"She was there on personal travel," said Ventrell. "This was not an official State Department delegation, she was there on a personal visit."

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