The University of Texas experienced a tragedy on campus Tuesday when the body of a young woman was discovered in a creek, and a homicide investigation begun. On Thursday, the police officially released the identity of the 18-year-old homicide victim, and it is now known that she was a student, first-year theater and dance major Haruka Weiser.
The identity was originally withheld until the family members of the victim could be notified, though it seems that the young woman’s friends had been told on the same day as, reportedly, the school of dance ended classes early that day because of the circumstances. Haruka Weiser attended the Austin campus of UT and its President, Greg Fenves, gave a written statement about her death.
“Haruka was a beloved member of our dance community, liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit. Austin Police Department Victim Services counselors spoke this morning with her parents and my heart goes out to them. Her death is a tragic loss for the UT community. “
The Inquisitr previously reported on the finding of Weiser’s body, which occurred at 10:46 a.m. She was found in a small stream that runs through the center of campus, and is known as Waller Creek and is close to the campus’ Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.
At this time there has been no motive or suspect identified in the death of the young student, not has the cause of her death or how her body ended up in the creek been released to the media. However, the authorities, which includes joint cooperation between the UT Austin Police, the Austin Police Department, and the Texas Safety Department, are investigating the death of Weiser as a homicide and are working diligently to find her murderer. The department also released a statement.
“The main focus at this time is to identify, locate and arrest the individual that committed this crime.”
Trail Blazers Blog wrote that the homicide victim lived near the creek in the Prather Dormitory on East 21st Street. A native of Portland, Oregon, Haruka Weiser was recruited by staff from the University’s school of dance over two years ago when they saw her perform at the National High School Dance Festival. She had begun her training in the sixth grade and loved ballet and hip hop.
Fenves also stated that Haruka was “trained in ballet” and “excelled in all her performance endeavours.” She was also involved in the student-run dance group, Dance Action. While classes will continue as usual, there is counseling available for any student who requires it.
Investigators on campus actually began looking for Weiser from Monday, when she was reported missing. The Austin Police Department became involved and took control of the homicide investigation after the discovery of her body in Waller Creek on Tuesday.
There are more than 50,000 students on UT’s Austin campus, and according to NBC News, Haruka’s homicide has sparked an increase in campus safety measures, which includes increased officer presence and patrols as well as late-night shuttles for students. The measures will hopefully help to alleviate some of the student’s fears and stress as they try to prepare for their upcoming final examinations.
The tragedy of Weiser’s murder is officially the first homicide investigation the campus has had since a student gunman stayed on a UT tower and shot and killed 14 people while wounding 32 others back in 1966.
[Photo by UT/Facebook]