In a joint press conference yesterday, İzmir Governor Cahit Kıraç and İzmir Police Chief Ercüment Yılmaz released details about the killer and the police effort that led to the arrest. Police teams arrested Hamdi Ayrı (27) in Muğla's Bodrum district in the early morning hours on Wednesday following an intensive effort that involved 350 police officers from İzmir as well as cooperation from law enforcement and judicial authorities in Muğla.
Ayrı was apprehended by police at around 5:30 a.m. yesterday and sent for legal processing. Along with Ayrı, police seized the bags of the three victims and the remaining cell phones, Kıraç said. News reports yesterday said in addition Ayrı had been in possession of a passport and 4,000 euros. Ayrı gave his initial testimony to authorities in İzmir yesterday and confessed to the murders. He said that he killed his victims for money. Meanwhile, neighbors of Ayrı, speaking to the press, described him as a shy, respectful man who kept to himself.
Kıraç commended the efforts of the İzmir police in quickly apprehending the murderer, noting that all three of victims had been killed by single gunshots from the same weapon and their handbags and cellular phones had been stolen. “While I extend my deepest condolences to the victims’ families, I also commend the police force for their success in catching this killer and returning tranquility to İzmir, one of Turkey’s safest provinces,” Kıraç said. Police Chief Yılmaz explained the working groups his department had set up to draw connections between the crime scene and the criminal -- and to make the killer easier to catch. Explaining that officers gathered video evidence from security cameras in the areas near the murder, Yılmaz noted that Ayrı had gone to a store to sell one of the victims’ cell phones, allowing police access to that footage as well. Police tracked the killer as he boarded a bus from İzmir to Bodrum and went so far as to put out a fake sketch of the suspect in order to prevent the killer from knowing just how close law enforcement was to catching him. On Tuesday, officers on patrol in İzmir had found Ayrı’s final murder victim, 30-year-old transvestite Mustafa As, dead in his car. On Monday, 22-year-old Ayşe Selen Ayla, a student at İzmir University of Economics, was killed while returning to her dorm after going shopping. The day before, 27-year-old Esra Yaşar, a bank employee, was murdered in the same district while walking home.