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University of Texas says victim of suspected homicide was dance student

Reuters Reuters 8/04/2016 By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas, April 7 (Reuters) - The victim of a suspected homicide found in a creek on the main campus of the University of Texas was identified on Thursday as Haruka Weiser, an 18-year-old, 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 young woman. "Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice."

Weiser was reported 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.

Haruka J. Weiser © Haruka J. Weiser/Facebook Haruka J. Weiser

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 have not identified the man.

A vigil was planned for Thursday afternoon on campus in Weiser's honor, with more than 1,000 people saying on a Facebook page for the event that they would attend.

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 about two years ago when they saw her perform at the National High School Dance Festival, Fenves said.

Weiser's family their expressed pain in a statement.

"The pain of our sudden and tragic loss in unfathomable," they said.

"We know Haruka would not wish for us be stuck in sadness but to keep living life to the fullest; that is what we will try to do in the coming days."

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

File photo of University of Texas, Austin campus © Getty Images File photo of University of Texas, Austin campus

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