Police mounted a major investigation this week after a body was discovered in a house in a quiet Falkirk residential street.
Residents in the Rosebank housing estate were shocked to awake on December 5 and find they were living by the scene of a murder inquiry.
Police were called shortly after midnight to Springfield Drive, near the Forth & Clyde Canal.
While forensic officers checked the house, door-to-door enquiries and a search of the surrounding streets were carried out. A cordon at the entrance to Rosebank Avenue was put in place and cars were checked as they entered.
At a press conference arranged at the scene on Friday morning Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson, Falkirk Area Commander, thanked the community for their co-operation.
She said: “As you can see this is a particularly quiet residential area of Falkirk where there have been very few calls to police at all, so it is very unsettling for the community, which we fully appreciate, and we will try to get the community back to normality as soon as possible.
“We would like to thank all the residents for their co-operation and patience with us while this inquiry unfolds.”
Residents expressed shock at the situation. One said: “It just seems unreal. Everyone is being stopped by police when they are coming home or leaving the house.
“It’s a terrible thing to have happened, it’s something you don’t think will happen right on your doorstep. Everyone is really shocked about it, it’s unbelievable.”
Steven Mathieson (38) who lives at the property where the body was found has been arrested and charged with murder. He appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday and faced four other charges – two of rape and two of abduction.
He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody. He is due to appear again on Tuesday.
The victim has been named by Romanian news website Ora de Sibiu as Luciana Maurer, who is 23 and comes from Medias in the Sibiu region of the country. She is reported to have a seven-year-old daughter, a brother and a sister and she sends 300-400 euros home to them every month.
A family member was due to travel to Scotland this week to formally identify the body.
The family were expecting her home for Christmas, according to reports in Romania.
Journalist Dragos Popescu who has spoken with them said: “Her parents spoke to her last Wednesday. They talked on the phone and young Luciana told them that she would return by Christmas.
“The last time Luciana was at home was in August to see her daughter. She sends home between 300-400 euros every month for her family.
“Her parents did not know at all that their daughter arrived in Scotland. She comes from a poor family who have been told it will cost them 10,000 euros to repatriate her body, but they do not have this money so this is a problem for them.”