A portrait of slain television reporter Viktoria Marinova is placed on the Liberty Monument next to flowers and candles during a vigil in Ruse, Bulgaria, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. File photo: AP Photo/Filip Dvorski.

Sofia - A 20-year-old man has been charged with the rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova, Bulgaria's public prosecutor confirmed on Tuesday.

"This case proved to be purely criminal," said Rumyana Arnaudova, spokeswoman for the public prosecutor.

It was thought that there could have been a political motive, with the murder coming in the wake of the politically motivated murder of journalists in other countries, such as in Slovakia. Arnaudova's comments seem to rule that out.

The body of the 30-year-old journalist and presenter was found in a park on the banks of the Danube in the Bulgarian city of Ruse, near the border with Romania, on October 7. She had apparently been out jogging.

The suspect fled initially to Romania and later travelled to Germany, where several of his relatives live.

After the man's deportation from Germany, Bulgarian police found genetic material identifying him as the perpetrator, Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said in Sofia.

Bulgarian state prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said investigators assume that the man attacked Marinova spontaneously out of sexual motives.

The man confessed to the crimes in October.

"Yes, I am guilty. I can't believe that I did it. I regret it," he said.

dpa