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Colorado-licensed teacher Ibolya Ryan murdered in Abu Dhabi shopping mall

Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-04 07:59:51-05

The American teacher stabbed to death inside an Abu Dhabi shopping mall restroom by a cloaked suspect is licensed by the state of Colorado.

Ibolya Ryan was in the United Arab Emirates teaching kindergarten, according to Footprints Recruiting Co-Founder & CEO Ben Glickman. The 47-year-old started there during the summer of 2013 and Glickman said Ryan had expressed interest in renewing her contract or finding other work in that country.

Glickman also confirmed that Ryan was licensed as a teacher in Colorado.

Ryan's photo on the recruiting company's website is posted alongside this quote: 

"I like the fact that I am working for ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) and not for a private school not just because ADEC seems to be a great organization but also I am part of this great reform they are doing for the future generations. Thanks for all your work and help! I am happy I went through Footprints."

A longer biography on a different page explains why she chose to work in the UAE and more about her personal biography.

"Footprints Recruiting is deeply saddened by the loss of Ibolya Ryan, a teacher we placed in Abu Dhabi, UAE," Glickman said in a written statement. "Our thoughts are with her twin boys and the rest of her family. We await the results of the ongoing police investigation before making conclusions about why this senseless tragedy occurred. We are confident that the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular remains a safe environment in which to live and work."

According to the Colorado Department of Education's teacher license database, Ryan was issued a teaching license in 2012. The license endorses her for special education students with moderate needs.

Authorities within the Ministry of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates have released surveillance video of the murder suspect. They have not identified the suspect because he or she is wearing an abaya -- a loose-fitting, black cloak worn by women in some parts of the Muslim world -- black gloves and the face-covering veil known as a niqab.

The stabbing occurred Monday afternoon in a shopping mall on Abu Dhabi's Al Reem Island. Video shows the suspect entering the mall at 1:12 p.m., riding an elevator and then turning down a hallway out of sight of the camera.

Col. Rashid Borshid, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, said a fight broke out between the victim and the attacker in the women's restroom just before the stabbing.

Ninety-two minutes later, at 2:44 p.m., the video shows several people running from the hallway. One woman appears to confront the suspect near the elevator, but runs away as the suspect got on. A minute later, the suspect strolls out of the mall.

Watch the video below (WARNING: Contains graphic images from the crime scene):

Because they cannot identify the suspect, the Ministry of the Interior has dubbed him or her the "Reem Island Ghost."

The video ends with several bloody images from inside the crime scene, including a kitchen knife on the floor and bloody footprints.

According to the Associated Press, the victim's 11-year-old twins are in the custody of the police department until their father can arrive.

The UAE is a Western-allied, seven-state federation that includes the glitzy commercial hub of Dubai and the oil-rich capital Abu Dhabi. It is home to a sizable Western population, with foreigners outnumbering Emirati citizens.