Vernicia Woodard Tehreem Zeus Rana

Police Handout, Hapeville Police Department

An Atlanta policeman has been arrested and charged with murdering Atlanta mother Vernicia Woodard in August.

A Hapeville, GA city employee discovered the body of the 26-year-old on August 22. According to police officials, Tahreem Zeus Rana connected with Woodard via Craigslist and met for the first time that night for a “romantic exchange.”

“First he took her to a secluded area to do the crime and then after killing her, he used some kind of fuel to light the body on fire in order to cover up any type of evidence that may be there,” said Detective Stephen Cushing in a press briefing.

Woodard’s body showed signs of being shot multiple times, according to police. Investigators questioned Rana last Wednesday and later discovered evidence from the crime scene and Internet records that pegged him as a prime suspect.

According to CBS46.com, officials couldn’t find Rana, who failed to show up to work Wednesday night. A warrant for his arrest was issued on the charges of murder, arson, and kidnapping. Rana was also put on the no-fly list. The Atlanta policeman was later arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, while trying to board a flight to Mexico.

“We are shocked and saddened by these developments. The officer has been relieved from duty, and is in a non-enforcement status. Chief Turner will schedule an emergency hearing immediately today to determine the next course of action. We must allow the justice system to run its course. But these clearly are very disturbing allegations that are not in line with the expectations we have for our officers, and will be immediately dealt with,” said Atlanta Police Department Public Affairs Director Carlos Campos.

Rana is set to appear in court Friday. He currently is currently being held in Fulton County Jail.



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