CHICAGO (CBS) — A 19-year-old student who was found dead in her car in a University of Illinois at Chicago parking garage this weekend is was strangled and her death was a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
UIC police said a person has been taken into custody. As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported, that person has no affiliation with UIC.
Meanwhile Sunday night, students were mourning a young woman known for her smile and sense of humor.
At 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, the mother and sister of Ruth George, of Berwyn, reported that she had not been heard from since the evening before, UIC police said. George was a sophomore kinesiology student.
George’s phone was pinged to the UIC Halsted Street Parking Garage at Halsted and Taylor streets, UIC police said.
UIC police and members of George’s family went to the garage, only to find George dead in the back seat of her car. Paramedics were called, but nothing could be done for the young student.
An investigation by UIC police has determined that George was alone when she went into the parking garage around 1:35 a.m. Saturday. The person of interest went into the garage right afterward, police said.
A day later, police tape still blocked off the crime scene at the garage.
“I think it’s really terrible and scary,” said Erin Mahoney.
UIC police had not said Sunday night whether they believed they had arrested the suspected killer. What was clear was that many of the 33,000 students on Chicago’s largest college campus were unnerved.
“There are students that are still scared about it, of going outside,” said UIC senior Parind Petiwale.
“I’m pretty sure everyone is talking about it,” said junior Karan Patel. “Now everybody is worrying about their safety and stuff like that.”
George wanted to follow her mom and sister into the healthcare profession so that she too could help people.
“It is very difficult to find words that can express the sadness our entire community experiences today following the news of the tragic death of a 19-year-old undergraduate student,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis in a written statement Saturday. “We offer our sincere condolences to the student’s family and friends and I know that all of us have them in our hearts as they struggle with this devastating loss.”
Recent UIC graduate Alex Bailey is hopeful something can be done though in the court of law.
“If this is the person, I hope justice is served and her family gets some closure,” Bailey said.
University police are handling the investigation with help from state, local, and federal universities. So far, no charges have been filed in the case.
Anyone with information on the investigation is asked to call UIC police at (312) 996-2830.