University of Texas says suspected homicide victim was dance student

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 07, 2016 2:04 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The victim of a suspected homicide found in a creek on the main campus of the University of Texas was identified on Thursday by university officials as Haruka Weiser, a first-year theater and dance student from Oregon.

"The unthinkable brutality against Haruka is an attack on our entire family," University of Texas President Gregory Fenves said in a statement that named the woman. "Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice."

Weiser went missing on Monday. Her body was found on Tuesday behind the university's alumni center, near the main football stadium, on the campus in Austin, which is used by about 64,000 students, faculty and staff.

No arrests have been made in the case, which has sent shockwaves through the university community and prompted a campus security review, but police told reporters they have a person of interest - a man seen in surveillance video on a bicycle near where the body was found. Police do not have the man's name.

Weiser left the drama building on Sunday night likely headed for her dormitory but never made it there, police said.

She was trained in ballet and recruited by dance faculty to come to the university about two years ago when they saw her perform at the National High School Dance Festival, Fenves said.

"We will forever miss her," Weiser's family said in a statement read at the news conference. "The pain of our sudden and tragic loss in unfathomable."

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Rigby and Paul Simao)