RIO DE JANEIRO — A vacationing employee of the U.S. Department of State was found strangled in a Rio de Janeiro hotel, police said Thursday.
Rivaldo Barbosa, head of the Rio police homicide division, identified the victim as 38-year-old Victoria Tcaciuc and said she was killed Feb. 20. A hotel employee found her body the same day.
Police have arrested a suspect who is seen in security camera video entering the hotel in Rio's Copacabana neighborhood, Barbosa said.
It is unclear when Tcaciuc arrived in Brazil, but Barbosa said at a news conference that she was planning to visit at least four other cities before returning to the United States on March 4. She was divorced and had no children.
The press office of the U.S. Consulate in Rio said Tcaciuc was a contract employee of the State Department. Citing privacy act considerations, the consulate did not provide her hometown or other information.
William Ostick, a spokesman with the State Department in Washington, said in an email: "We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Department of State contractor Victoria Tcaciuc. We express our deepest condolences to her friends."
The arrested man, identified as Alessandro Rufino Oliveira Carvalho, has acknowledged that he was with Tcaciuc in the room but denies killing her, Barbosa said.
Barbosa said Carvalho left the hotel less than an hour after entering and traveled to Sao Paulo. He was arrested Thursday when as he was returning to Rio.
The two apparently met at a crafts fair, had lunch and then went to the hotel.
"We suspect that he killed her because she refused to have sex with him," Barbosa said.
The O Globo newspaper quoted Carvalho as saying: "In the hotel all she wanted to do was smoke a cigarette and watch television. There was no sex and when I left she was very much alive."
Also on HuffPost:
In this Dec. 28, 2012 photo, a child flies a kite in the Mare shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The city's densest neighborhoods, its favelas, or shantytowns blanket entire hillsides, providing most of the city's affordable housing. Now, those communities are being charted after decades of informality, each route and alley outlined and their names researched. Being left off the map had meant whole communities were unable to receive mail at home. It had also blocked people from giving required information on job applications, getting a bank account or telling the police or fire department where to go in an emergency call. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
This Dec. 28, 2012 photo shows the Mare shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Dec. 28, 2012 photo, a vendor talks on a cell phone at a store in the Mare shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Dec. 28, 2012 photo, children play in the Mare shantytown, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Dec. 28, 2012 photo, children play soccer in the Mare shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this Dec. 28, 2012 photo, two residents look at a newly-installed street sign street in the Mare shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)