MALIBU—South African authorities have charged and imprisoned the alleged boyfriend of recently murdered Pepperdine alum Garbiela Kabrins Alban.
The 39-year-old Los Angeles resident was reportedly killed by strangulation while vacationing in South Africa around two weeks ago in her suite at the luxurious Camps Bay Retreat Hotel in Cape Town.
Soon after her death, authorities arrested her alleged boyfriend Diego Dougherty Novella, a wealthy Guatemalan national, with whom Kabrins was sharing her suite at the hotel. Novella, 41, holds passports to both Guatemala and Italy, but he speaks Spanish primarily.
On August 4, the South African State officially charged Novella with premeditated murder. He is currently being held at the hospital section of Pollsmoor Prison, the prison that housed Nelson Mandela from 1982 to 1986.
Novella will appear before the Cape Town Magistrates Court on August 14 and be eligible to apply for bail on August 21.
According to the Daily Mail, Kabrins was sexually assaulted prior to being killed, but authorities have not yet confirmed those details. It also reports that about a pound of cocaine was discovered at the crime scene, suspected to have been Novella’s, as he was a confirmed user.
In a letter from her family, Kabrins was described as “not a party animal at all” and someone who lived a “clean” lifestyle.
Kabrins’ family described her in the same letter as being a “smart, stylish and successful woman.” The family of Gabriela Kabrins released he following statement: “We are committed to return to Cape Town as soon, and as often as may be required to assist in seeking justice for Gaby. Our beautiful Gaby will live in our hearts forever.”
Before her death, Kabrin was a successful marketing executive. She founded her own marketing firm, Conexión, in 2002, with Martin Llorens. Llorens posted the following on his Facebook page: “My dear Gaby. Rest in peace, love you forever. In your light I learn who I am. I will always treasure you.”
Kabrins was the daughter of prominent Malibu restaurateur Howdy Kabrins with eateries including Howdy’s Taqueira which closed in 2014.
The body of Kabrin, who was Jewish, is said to have already been transported back to Los Angeles, pending funeral arrangements.