A man being quizzed over the brutal rape and murder of an American tourist in Grenada had only been released from prison a month ago after being jailed for child rape, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Police sources on the Caribbean island said David Benjamin was freed in December after serving 15 years.
He is suspected of killing Jessica Colker who died from extensive skull fracture and asphyxia, as she walked along a deserted beach with her husband on the first day of her holiday, autopsy results reveal.
Colker, an anesthesiologist from Atlanta Georgia, is said to have been raped before being murdered ‘with the use of a cutlass’.
Benjamin walked into a police station in the Parish of St David’s the day after Colker’s body was found in an area of mangroves near the La Sages hotel in St David’s where she and her husband were staying.
A police source told Daily Mail.com: ‘Benjamin was set free in December. He had been locked away for the rape of a young child.’
Benjamin, who has three teardrops under his left eye that in gang culture means he has killed or is prepared to kill, has not yet been charged.
He is being held at St George’s Police station in the island’s capital and was questioned by detectives on Monday. It is not known if he has a lawyer.
Unconfirmed reports on the island suggested Colker’s throat had been cut and she also suffered multiple stab wounds.
Grenada Police spokesman Sylvan McIntyre said of Benjamin: ‘What I can tell you now is that he is in custody. He was not captured, but he turned himself in and our investigations will continue, as we believe he can assist us with our investigation into the incident.’
McIntyre said Benjamin had been released from prison after being convicted of rape and carnal knowledge.
Until recently the set jail term for rape in Grenada was 15 years.
A recent amendment to the criminal code means that any person who is convicted of rape is sentenced to prison for a maximum of 35 years.
Grenada’s criminal courts have been dominated by sexual related offences, accounting for more than one-third of all the cases before the High Court for trial.
Colker was attacked as she strolled along Le-Cheasere beach in St David with her husband Brian Melito, 62. They were on a stretch of the beach away from other tourists.
It is not known if Melito was injured before he ran to raise the alarm and get help.
When he returned he found his wife’s body hidden among the mangroves on the beach.
Police sealed off the beach as a murder hunt was launched and police with automatic weapons were seen searching the area.
Colker and her husband had only flown into Grenada from Atlanta on Saturday and were on the first full day of their vacation.
According to online records, Colker is a registered pediatric anesthetist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
She and her husband are both seasoned travelers and first met at a dance workshop in Costa Rica according to their wedding website profile.
They say they had a smoothie together on the second day of the class and then spent the rest of the week ‘dancing, talking, surfing, eating great food, swimming in the ocean under the stars and generally falling in love.’
They became engaged in August of 2014 and wed in November of 2014 in Atlanta.
In their statement issued on Monday afternoon, the US Embassy for the region based in Bridgetown, Barbados, said they were ‘working closely with officials investigating Ms. Colker’s death’.
Police in St George’s confirmed that ‘at about 12.00 noon on Sunday January 24, 2016, it was reported to the police that a woman, who was in the company of her male companion went missing following an attack by a man at Le-Cheasere beach in St David.
‘A search was mounted in the area and a person later identified as the missing woman was found dead.
‘A suspect is currently in custody assisting police with their investigation.’
Colker is the second tourist to have been murdered on the island in just over a month.