Homeless Teen Identified as Suspect in College Student's Slaying
The 17-year-old arrested on Friday morning has been charged with the murder of a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
He was identified as Meechaiel Criner and was living in a homeless shelter.
Police say he had several items belonging to 18-year-old freshman dance student Haruka Weiser.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference on Friday afternoon: “We are very certain that the suspect we have in custody is the suspect responsible for the murder of this beautiful young woman.”
The police chief choked back tears as he told reporters about the arrest of the student’s alleged killer.
“I didn't get the privilege of meeting this young woman but I want to say that having spoken to the mother [she said] that everyone she touched was a blessing and I am just thankful that we are going to bring justing to that family,” he said.
Earlier this week, surveillance video has surfaced of a man with a bicycle police say they want to interview about Weiser’s murder.
The manhunt came to an end after firefighters in Austin saw surveillance video and remembered that they had encountered a homeless youth had set fire to trash in that same area on Monday - the day after Haruka's disappearance.
Firefighters took him to an emergency homeless shelter.
The arrest eased tension on the campus of 51,000 students, which has been overwhelmed with grief and anxiety since the murder.
Haruka, a talented dance student from Portland, Oregon, who wanted to be a professional dancer and choreographer, left a rehearsal on Sunday night to walk to her dorm just 200 yards away.
A police officer discovered her body Tuesday in a creek under a bridge on her route home.
Thousands of students held a vigil for Haruka and there were emotional scenes at the students expressed both grief and fear that a killer had been stalking the campus.