Students and faculty at the University of Illinois-Chicago are in shock after a 19-year-old student was found dead in a campus parking garage, and a person of interest is in custody in connection to her death.
The student, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as 19-year-old Ruth George of suburban Berwyn, was found dead at approximately 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
“All of us are devasted by the loss of Ruth George. Our thoughts, our hearts and our condolences are with her family and friends during this trying period,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said in a statement.
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George was found unresponsive in a car parked in the Halsted Street Parking Garage in the 700 block of West Taylor Street, officials said. On Sunday afternoon, UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker issued a statement saying that the department believes that George was “the victim of foul play,” and said that a person of interest is in custody in connection to the incident.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office has determined that George died as a result of strangulation, and ruled her death a homicide.
Originally called a “death investigation,” the case took a turn when authorities discovered that a person had entered the parking garage shortly after George did at 1:35 a.m. Saturday.
That person is now in custody of police, and is unaffiliated with the university, according to authorities.
“That’s just really shocking,” one student said. “I’ve never heard of anything like that happening here before.”
In a statement, school officials say that safety is their “foremost” concern, and are asking students and faculty to remain vigilant in the wake of the incident.
“I encourage you to continue to take advantage of the prevention tools and resources available on campus and to remain vigilant while you are both on and off campus,” Chancellor Amiridis said.
The UIC Police Department is continuing to investigate the case, and is encouraging anyone with information on the investigation to call 312-996-2830.