Body of UT Austin Student Found in Creek Identified as Fine Arts Major

PHOTO: Haruka Weiser, seen here in this undated photo posted to her Facebook on Oct. 5, 2015, was identified as the victim of a homicide after her body was found in a creek on the University of Texas Austin campus, April 7, 2016.PlayHaruka Weiser/Facebook
WATCH Authorities Identify Young Woman Found Dead at UT Austin

The body of a woman found in a creek on the University of Texas at Austin campus has been identified as 18-year-old Haruka Weiser, a first-year fine arts student.

According to the Austin Police Department, Weiser was a victim of assault and endured what university president Gregory L. Fenves described as "unthinkable brutality."

Weiser was last seen Sunday night leaving the drama building between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m., Austin Police Department Chief Troy Gay said in a press conference Thursday. Weiser had communicated with one of her friends after she left the building, so police are confident of the route she took as she traveled back to her dorm, Gay said.

PHOTO: Crime scene investigators work near the scene where a womans body has been found in a creek in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2016. Marshall Tidrick/The Daily Texan via AP
Crime scene investigators work near the scene where a woman's body has been found in a creek in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2016.

She never made it to her dorm that night, and her roommates called university police the next morning to report her missing.

After failing to locate Weiser Monday, Police conducted a more thorough search, finding her remains in a creek behind the campus' alumni center Tuesday morning, Fenves said that day. Her death was immediately thought to be suspicious by police.

PHOTO: Haruka Weiser, seen here in this undated photo posted to her Facebook on July 9, 2013, was identified as the victim of a homicide after her body was found in a creek on the University of Texas Austin campus, April 7, 2016. Haruka Weiser’s Facebook page
Haruka Weiser, seen here in this undated photo posted to her Facebook on July 9, 2013, was identified as the victim of a homicide after her body was found in a creek on the University of Texas Austin campus, April 7, 2016.

The Medical Examiner ruled Weiser's death a homicide after performing an autopsy, Gay said, but did not elaborate on the nature of her death other than that she was assaulted. The identity of the suspect is not known at this time.

In the press conference, Gay played surveillance video of a person of interest. He first was seen on surveillance wearing a backpack and walking a red bicycle around 10 p.m. and then later after 11 p.m. Police believe he was in the area near the drama building for at least a couple of hours.

PHOTO: The Austin Police Department released surveillance footage of a person of interest in the homicide of 18-year-old fine arts student Haruka Weiser. Austin Police Department
The Austin Police Department released surveillance footage of a person of interest in the homicide of 18-year-old fine arts student Haruka Weiser.

Gay described the campus as "active" at the time the suspect was seen on campus, with cyclists and walking students appearing near the suspect. He hopes one of those people will come forward, and a $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

"The police department will not rest" until the suspect is arrested," Gay said.

Fenves read a statement from Wesier's family, saying she was a "passionate and dedicated dancer and student" who was about to declare a second major in premed studies and wanted to travel to Japan.

"We will forever miss her," the family's statement said. "The pain of our sudden and tragic loss is unfathomable."

PHOTO: Haruka Weiser, seen here in this undated photo posted to her Facebook on Aug. 5, 2014, was identified as the victim of a homicide after her body was found in a creek on the University of Texas Austin campus, April 7, 2016. Haruka Weisers Facebook
Haruka Weiser, seen here in this undated photo posted to her Facebook on Aug. 5, 2014, was identified as the victim of a homicide after her body was found in a creek on the University of Texas Austin campus, April 7, 2016.

Fenves said Weiser was "liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit"

Wesier was a theater and dance student from Portland, Oregon and trained in ballet, Fenves said.

"The unthinkable brutality against Haruka is an attack on our entire family,” Fenves said. "Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice."