A 22-year-old student at the University of Washington has died of her injuries following an attack by her boyfriend, also a UW student. Casey S. Henderson, 21, is being held on $1 million bail; police say he beat and choked Katy Straalsund while high on LSD.
KOMO News reports that a neighbor called 911 after hearing a “violent confrontation” Sunday afternoon.
“The guy started pounding the wall and kicking stuff,” the unidentified neibhor told the station. “And then I was like, ‘Wow, I better call,’ because he was continuously yelling like, ‘I’m going to (expletive) kill you!’”
Officers broke into the apartment and pulled Henderson off Straalsund, the Tri-City Herald reports. She had no brain activity when she arrived at the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The Herald also reports that according to a police affidavit, Henderson said the couple had been dating for about six months, and took LSD together the afternoon before the attack:
They bought the drugs from a person on the street in the University District and walked around the UW campus after taking them, returning to the apartment between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Henderson said. He couldn’t account for what happened next.
“He did say that they never slept,” a detective wrote. “He states (that) after a while things ‘started to get weird.’ ”
He became paranoid and imagined his girlfriend was “plotting against him,” the document said. He repeatedly punched and kicked her, using a kick he learned in tae kwon do. He then started strangling her with both hands and remembered yelling, “Do you want to live?”
“Several times during the interview, Henderson stated, ‘I thought I killed her,’” a detective wrote.
Straalsund died from her injuries Tuesday afternoon, the Seattle Police Department reported; the case is now being investigated as a homicide. UW has yet to put out a statement about Straalsund’s death, but the Seattle PD says it is “coordinating” with the university to investigate the crime.
Straalsund’s social media profiles show that she was a Washington native who also worked at Starbucks; her posts are filled with song lyrics, positive quotes, and pictures with friends. Not long ago, she celebrated over a perfect score on a neuroscience exam and looked forward to spring break.
Henderson is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
Update, 4:35 p.m.
University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce released the following statement:
“Our broken hearts are with Katy’s family and friends, and we offer our deepest condolences and support at this incredibly difficult time for them.
“This is a tragedy for those who loved Katy, for the UW and our community – a horrifying and senseless act of violence that has robbed a promising young woman of her future.
“Many of our students are away for spring break and will learn this news when they return. We have grief counselors available for anyone in our community who seeks support.”
University of Washington. Photo by Curtis Cronn/Flickr via Creative Commons