A murder on the University of Texas Austin campus earlier this year has prompted millions of dollars in brand-new security changes for all students on site.
According to the Dallas News, freshman and first-year ballet student, Haruka Weiser, was sexually assaulted and strangled to death in April. Her corpse was found in a creek near the campus football stadium. Investigators say they believe 18-year-old Meechaiel Criner, a homeless teen, is responsible for the killing. The report said Criner was indicted by a grand jury in July on a capital-murder charge.The murder of the student from Oregon was the first on campus in 50 years, and officials at the university immediately began to review and implement changes. Among the many improvements, the report said that more campus security officers will be hired, state troopers will be brought in, and the lighting and security-video systems will be updated.
The Dallas News said the school will also limit nonstudent access to University buildings and “reduce the presence of transients” around the campus.
In Weiser’s case, Criner was a then 17-year-old who had reportedly run away from his home only weeks before the alleged killing. Detectives said their investigation guided them to an Austin shelter for homeless youth only two days after Weiser’s body was located, the report adds.
On the night Weiser was killed, according to Campus Safety Magazine, she left a building around 9:30 P.M. and was never seen alive again. The report said her roommates reported the freshman missing within 24 hours. While the exact cause of death has not been revealed, authorities do say that her murder was “particularly brutal.”
Fox 7 said not long after the killing, many students joined forces to gather signatures for a petition to increase safety. Students wantmore blue emergency boxes, that call campus police with one button, placed around the campus.
Criner’s case is still pending, and he’s being held on $1 million bond.
Main photo: Screenshot from Fox 7 video