Turkey police arrest homeless man over US tourist murder

Police in Turkey on Sunday said they had arrested a homeless man wanted on suspicion of murdering a 33-year-old American tourist in Istanbul last month.

Mother-of-two Sarai Sierra was found bludgeoned to death near Istanbul's ancient city walls on February 2 -- ten days after her family said they lost contact with the lone tourist.

"The suspect, Ziya T, wanted for the murder of the American citizen Sarai Sierra was arrested today, Sunday, in Reyhanli," read a statement from the Hatay authorities in southeastern Turkey, near the border with Syria.

Special police squads have been searching for weeks for the suspect, who had been on the move since the discovery of the woman's battered body. The man, who has been described as "unstable", will be taken to Istanbul for questioning.

After quizzing several people, Turkish police made Ziya T their main suspect on the basis of DNA tests, which, they allege, show that traces of blood found on the victim's shirt could belong to the suspect.

Sierra's family alerted the authorities to her disappearance after she failed to return home to New York from her holiday as planned on January 21.