Saman Abbas, 18, is believed to have been killed by her family after she refused an arranged marriage. Her body was discovered in Reggio Emilia in northern Italy
An uncle who allegedly killed his “westernised” niece with her parents’ support because she refused an arranged marriage has been tracked down thanks to Facebook.
Saman Abbas, 18, had not been seen since being thrown on the streets by her family in late April.
Her disappearance only came to light the following month, when social services supporting the girl called to her family home in the north of Italy.
But when they arrived they realised the parents had left to return to Pakistan, while Saman was still missing.
Her parents are now suspected of having orchestrated her murder near their home by their uncle, Danish Hasnain, 33, who allegedly strangled her to death.
It is thought that after kicking her out of the house, her family tracked her down before her uncle killed her.
With help from the rest of the family, he reportedly buried her body in the city of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy on April 30.
Now, a long investigation and cooperation with French police has led to Hasnain being detained in the French capital Paris on Wednesday.
Stefano Bove, the commander of the Reggio Emilia carabinieri, told Italian media outlet Fanpage that the suspect had been detained after investigators found him thanks to Facebook.
It is believed that he had been in France since May.
Italian and French police had been working together for months, analysing video surveillance footage, telephone records, and combing through social media profiles on Facebook.
Their efforts led to the suspect’s capture on the outskirts of Paris in an apartment on Rue de Bastion in the commune of Garges-les-Gonesse, which is located in the northern Paris suburbs in the Val d’Oise department.
Bove said: “We are talking about people who had multiple profiles on multiple social networks: it was a laborious and complex investigation.
“We rebuilt the entire relational network of these social profiles managing to identify IP addresses that led us to France and specifically to Paris.”
Hasnain was last seen on 10th May in Italy, but at the time the teenage girl had only been listed as missing and so he was not detained.
However, investigators now suspect that Hasnain murdered his niece.
He was found in an apartment with other people, who have not been identified.
French officers immediately identified him thanks to the mugshot the Italian police had sent them, according to Fanpage.
The police had previously shared footage allegedly showing the uncle carrying the shovel he used to dig the girl’s grave.
He has been detained in prison while he waits to be questioned by a French judge. He is expected to be deported back to Italy in about 10 days.
Police are now focusing on trying to find the other suspects in the case, including Saman’s parents, who fled to Pakistan shortly after their daughter disappeared.
Another wanted suspect is one of the girl’s cousins, who investigators believe is hiding somewhere in Europe.