Italy Coed Murder: One Suspect Caught, One Released

Police believe they have detained a fourth suspect, while another is released.

ByABC News
November 20, 2007, 9:01 AM

PERUGIA, Italy, Nov. 20, 2007 — -- Police in Germany believe they have arrested the man named as a new suspect in the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Italy, while one of three original suspects was released from custody this afternoon.

The man believed to be Rudy Hermann Guede, a 20-year-old man originally from the Ivory Coast, was stopped for traveling without a ticket on a train between the towns of Mainz and Wiesbaden. Guede is the new suspect wanted in connection with the murder, and authorities in Italy have been hot on his trail for several days now.

Police thought they had lost him but were able to pick up his movements again Monday night. They were about to leave for Germany this morning to pursue him when the news broke of the arrest.

"I can confirm that an Italian liaison officer working at our police headquarters in Wiesbaden has been involved in the investigation here today and that a lot of circumstantial evidence suggests that the man is indeed the suspect," Mainz police spokeswoman Heidi Naegel told ABC News.

Meanwhile, Congolese pub owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba was released from the jailhouse in Perugia where he has been detained since Nov. 6 in connection with the murder. His lawyers had been lobbying for his release, arguing that there was a lack of evidence to hold him. According to police sources, no forensic traces have been found linking Lumumba to the crime scene, and he has always maintained that he didn't visit the house where the murder took place.

Kercher's roommate, American exchange student Amanda Knox, remains in jail along with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. Prosecutors have been allowed up to a year to prepare a case for their possible indictment. Both deny involvement in the murder.

In a police statement that was subsequently leaked to the press, Knox is said to have admitted being in the house at the time of the killing. She told investigators that Lumumba was infatuated with Kercher and was in the British student's bedroom before her murder. The American then denied this in later statements.