The University of Texas Identifies Homicide Victim as a First-Year Dance Student

Officials at the University of Texas at Austin are enhancing campus security and encouraging students to be careful after determining that a body found on campus on Tuesday belongs to first-year dance student Haruka Weiser.

Weiser, a native of Portland, Oregon, was reported missing on Monday. Her body was discovered on Tuesday on campus near Waller Creek. Though police began investigating the death a possible homicide, they have not yet confirmed the cause of death. In a statement sent to UT’s campus and community this morning, university president Gregory Fenves called Weiser’s death a “tragic loss for the UT community.”

Haruka was a beloved member of our dance community, liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit. Dance faculty members first met Haruka more than two years ago when she performed at the National High School Dance Festival. They immediately began recruiting her to come to UT from her home in Portland, Oregon. Our community was made better by her decision to join the College of Fine Arts.

Trained in ballet, Haruka excelled in all her performance endeavors. She was also involved in Dance Action, a student-run organization for dancers, and performed in the fall Dance Action concert.


Fenves described Weiser’s death as “unthinkable brutality” and an “attack on our entire family.” The Texas Tribune notes that Weiser’s death is “the first homicide on the campus in this century.”

The university is encouraging students to take additional safety precautions and expanded safety patrols and shuttle services. They have also added shuttles for students attending rehearsals near where Weiser’s body was found. The Daily Texan reports that SURE Walk, a service which provides walking partners to students on campus, had seen a 400 percent user increase since Weiser’s body was discovered.

In a statement yesterday, Fenves said UT was working with the Texas Safety Department and the Texas Rangers to investigate the murder. UT has yet to name any suspects or possible motives in the case.

Update: The Austin police released a video of a man they believe is a suspect in Weiser’s murder. The U.S. Marshals Service, Texas Department of Public Safety and State Crime Stoppers is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.


Image via Getty.

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