Published: 06th December 2019
19-year-old Indian-American student's assailant charged with first-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault
The victim, Ruth George, was found unresponsive in a vehicle parked inside University campus and medical examiners ruled her death a homicide by strangulation
A 19-year-old Indian origin girl was sexually assaulted and then strangulated to death at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus parking lot on November 24.
The victim, Ruth George, was found unresponsive in a vehicle parked inside University campus and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office on Sunday ruled her death as a homicide by strangulation.
Family members of Ruth George first reported her missing on Saturday, November 23, stating that they hadn't heard from her since Friday evening.
Investigators tracked her phone's location to the UIC's parking garage, shortly after which, her body was found at the backseat of a family-owned vehicle there.
The assailant, Donald Thurman, 26, was arrested Sunday from a Chicago metro station. He is not associated with the university.
On Monday, he was formally charged with first-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault for killing George.
The Police had retrieved video footage from existing university cameras of the offender who was seen walking behind George, whose family has roots in Secunderabad, on Saturday, according to the university.
She entered the garage on foot at approximately 1:35 a.m., followed by the offender. The offender is seen again on video footage at 2:10 a.m. walking on Halsted Street.
Police then reviewed video footage from the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago POD cameras, and its internal system to determine travel patterns of the offender.
Based on the observations, police detectives decided to watch the Blue line station during the hours that the offender had previously travelled on the Blue line.
Thurman, who has a criminal history, was arrested Sunday near the Blue line train station at Halsted and Harrison streets.
He subsequently gave a full confession to the horrific crime.
According to the university, George was a sophomore and kinesiology major.
George, whose family has roots in Hyderabad, was a Naperville native and graduated from Naperville Central High School in 2018 before joining UIC to study kinesiology, she aspired to become a medical professional.
Her sudden demise has deeply shocked her family members and friends who took to Facebook to pay their final respects.
“Dearest Ruthie baby…. we miss you…just not able to believe you’re no more.. You were a loving and wonderful daughter, sister and cousin..Rest in peace Ruth George … we love you…” wrote Sunaina Deborah, a family member on Facebook. She also posted a video of George speaking in church.
"Ruth George was the sweetest person I knew, who I knew was always there and always a smiling face who did not deserve to go out like this. Rest in Peace Ruth," wrote Samantha Sanders, another friend.
"All of us are devastated by the loss of Ruth George, a member of our Honours College and a talented kinesiology student with dreams and aspirations to become a health professional and help others.
Our thoughts, our hearts, and our condolences are with her family and friends during this trying period," University Chancellor Michael D Amiridis said in a statement.
According to local ABC 7 news, yellow ribbons are hung around campus in memory of George, who was nicknamed "Baby Colour."
"The ribbon is, the colour is her favourite colour," Cynthia Martinez, UIC student, was quoted as saying.
"They just asked if we could tie them somewhere on campus, in her memory." Her former gymnastics team coach said in a statement to ABC7 that George was a "sweet girl" with the "brightest smile" who will be dearly missed.