Updated at 4:08 p.m.
A 23-year-old Georgia man has been charged with murder in the death of his twin brother in Columbia four years ago.
Wael Ali, who has been living in Marietta, GA, was arrested at 4:30 a.m. Thursday at his home by Cobb County Georgia Sheriff’s officials, along with two Howard County police officials, without incident.
On Aug. 27, 2007, the body of Wasel Ali, 19, twin brother of Wael Ali, was discovered on a secluded dirt path in the woods behind the 12000 block of Green Meadow Drive in Columbia.
An autopsy showed he died as a result of a neck injury.
The Cobb County Sheriff's office characterized the death in a press release as "some type of choke hold crushing his neck."
“This arrest demonstrates that our detectives never give up on a case,” said Howard County Police Chief William McMahon in a press release. “Our cold case unit has continued this investigation to ensure that justice would be served in this tragic murder.”
Howard County police said the brothers were involved in a ongoing theft scheme involving stealing clothes from . Wasel Ali was fired from a job at a clothing store there after the scheme was discovered, police said.
Wasel Ali’s family reported him missing on Aug. 22, 2007, the same day he admitted to stealing nearly $1,300 in clothing while working at the Banana Republic, according to a 2007 report in the Baltimore Sun.
Police said Thursday he also implicated his twin brother Wael during that confession.
Also on Aug. 22, Howard County police served a search warrant at the Ali’s home on Warm Granite Drive in Columbia. The warrant was related to a case from Aug. 17 in Arlington, VA., in which both brothers were charged with possession of a stolen handgun and impersonating police officers.
Wasel Ali was a 2006 graduate of , according to the Sun. Wael told the paper his twin had enlisted in the Army Reserve in July 2006.
Both brothers were discharged from the reserves after their arrest for impersonating military police, according to the Sun.
Wael Ali told the Sun in 2007 that the media was focusing too much on his brother’s criminal record.
"No matter what people say he's done, nobody deserves to be murdered," he said to the Sun. "The issue should not be his past. It should be what happened to him."
The brothers were last seen together on surveillance video inside the mall around 6:45 p.m., Aug. 22, but then walking in opposite directions and exiting at opposite ends of the building, police said.
Wael Ali is seen entering his car and driving off. Wasel Ali is seen leaving the mall on foot.
Police said Wael Ali’s whereabouts are unaccounted for in the 25 minutes after the two left the mall, until he calls a friend, distraught and saying his brother has gone “missing.”
He drove to a friend’s house and according to witnesses, is “frantic,” “in a panic,” and “crying” that his brother is missing, Howard County police said.
Wael Ali asked friends to help him look for his brother, but said he had already searched the area where Wasel Ali’s body would later be found, police said.
The Ali family reported Wasel Ali as a missing person to police approximately four hours after he was last seen on surveillance video, according to police.
After the discovery of Wasel Ali’s body on Aug. 27, detectives launched a homicide investigation, police said. Over time, that investigation has included numerous interviews and re-interviews, as well as reviews of cell phone records, surveillance videos and other evidence. The investigation has culminated in Thursday’s arrest
Ali was taken to the Cobb County Jail Thursday and will have an initial appearance hearing at 8 p.m. at the Cobb County Jail, according to the Cobb County Sheriff's office.
Howard County police officials said the case will be tried here, and they expect the suspect to be extradited to Howard County within a week.