The body of a homicide victim found earlier this week on the University of Texas campus in Austin has been identified as Haruka Weiser, 18, a first-year theatre and dance student from Portland, Ore.
"Haruka was a beloved member of our dance community, liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit," University President Gregory Fenves said. "...Our community was made better by her decision to join the College of Fine Arts. The unthinkable brutality against Haruka is an attack on our entire family. Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice.
Weiser's family issued a statement Thursday expressing gratitude for the support they have been getting.
"[A}s we struggle to understand why she was killed, if her death can somehow make it safer for a young woman to walk home, if it will prevent another assault or murder, then at least we could find some meaning behind an otherwise senseless and tragic death," the statement said.
Weiser was reported missing Monday morning, and campus police immediately began a search. Officers discovered the woman's body in Waller Creek behind the alumni center.
The university says the slaying is the first homicide on the main campus since the infamous events of Aug. 1, 1966, when sniper Charles Whitman opened fire from the UT Tower’s observation deck and killed 13 people.
The search for the Weiser's killer continued Thursday. Police have released surveillance video from Sunday, when Weiser was last seen, of a man with a bicycle lurking in the area who may be a person of interest in the case.
Video from NBC News: