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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Almaty Police Arrest Suspect In Murder of U.S. Journalist

Police in the Kazakh capital, Almaty, have arrested at least one suspect in connection with last week's murder of American journalist Christopher Gehring, according to spokesman for the Almaty criminal investigation department and news reports.

Though no official statement has been issued, the spokesman, who did not want to give his name, said by telephone that one man has been arrested and the investigation is "close to its conclusion."

The Associated Press, quoting the local independent television news agency LID, later reported that two suspects had been arrested and that one was a drug addict who admitted stealing apartment keys from Gehring and giving them to the other suspect.

Both men were acquaintances of Gehring's and regularly visited him in his rented apartment in the center of the capital, the LID report said.

Gehring, 28, was the director of the Internews Network in Central Asia, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist the development of free media in the former Soviet Union.

His throat was cut in his rented apartment during an apparent burglary, colleagues at Internews said. His body was discovered Jan. 9 by co-workers who became concerned when he failed to show up for work.

Vladimir Kim, the chief investigator on the case, would not confirm or deny any arrests, but said "everything will be fine" and indicated that more news would be available "in a couple of days."

The arrest was also reported Monday by the RIA news agency, which cited "a well-informed, high ranking source" in the Almaty investigation department, and by Itar-Tass, which said investigators expected to make more arrests soon.

George Nutwell, regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan, said Tuesday that he had not heard any official confirmation of any arrest in the case. Gehring's colleague at Internews in Almaty, Persephone Miel, added that she also had not heard of any developments.