A homeless man, identified as Ziya T., told police he killed American tourist Sarai Sierra after she resisted his advances.
The man said he was drunk and intoxicated from sniffing glue, and cannot remember much of the attack on the mother-of-two in Istanbul last month.
“While I was sitting next to the railway I saw a woman coming toward me," he told authorities, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
"She was taking photographs while walking. When she was in front of me I tried to kiss her; she resisted me, and a scuffle broke out between the two of us. She hit me with her mobile phone and blood began pouring from my nose, getting everywhere, I got so angry I hit her with all the strength I have,” Ziya T. reportedly said.
Police in Turkey detained Ziya T Sunday after matching his DNA to that found on Sierra's body, Agence France-Presse reported.
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Police allege that following the murder he stayed in the area for nine days and fled to Syria when the body was found on February 2 in Istanbul’s Sarayburnu neighborhood.
Sierra, a mother of two from Staten Island, NY, was found bludgeoned to death near a highway in Turkey’s capital city on Feb. 2, ABC News reported. It was her first trip abroad, and she’d been traveling alone, regularly posting photographs online.
Ziya T. is a homeless scrap paper collector, ABC News reported.
Police said they had tracked his movements on the day she was killed using footage from the more than 500 security cameras that are installed in the Galata Bridge area, Long Island Media reported. Ziya T. had been seen selling Sierra’s jacket at a local bazaar, police said.
Ziya T.’s brother said he has claimed he is innocent and was attempting to flee the country because he feared he would be blamed for the murder by drug addicts in the area, Long Island Media reported.