Homeless Teen Arrested in Killing of University of Texas Student Haruka Weiser


A homeless teenager was arrested in the murder of a dance student at the University of Texas at Austin, police said on Friday.

Meechaiel Criner, 17, was taken into custody on Thursday and held on $1 million bond, online records showed. Haruka Weiser, 18, of Portland, Oregon, was reported missing on Monday. Her body was found on Tuesday behind the university’s alumni center.  

Meechaiel Khalil Criner, 17, is shown in this handout photo provided by the City of Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas April 8, 2016.   REUTERS/City of Austin Police Department/Handout via ReutersIt was the first on-campus killing at the university since a 1966 mass shooting by a sniper.

Weiser’s death sent shockwaves across the campus and among the 64,000 students, faculty and staff.

Police said she had left a drama building on campus on Sunday night, likely headed for her dormitory, but never made it. An arrest affidavit for Criner said there was trauma on Weiser’s body and that her possessions were not found.

A video was released on Thursday showing a person of interest near where Weiser’s body had been found. A young woman who reported a trash fire near the campus on Monday recognized the person in the video as the one who had started the blaze and told police.

According to the affidavit, a separate surveillance video showed a person with a “shiny rigid object” who followed a woman across a bridge and onto a sidewalk before they moved out of frame.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told a news conference that investigators had found items at the fire that were believed to belong to Weiser.

Police tracked Criner to a homeless shelter, where he was arrested. He faces charges of murder of tampering with evidence, police said.

“We are very certain that the suspect in custody is the suspect responsible for the death of this beautiful young woman,” Acevedo said. Criner is expected to be charged with murder.

Criner, who was not a student at the university, had a bag believed to belong to Weiser, Acevedo said.

He said the motive for the killing was not known.

Weiser, a dance major, had planned to declare a second major in pre-med studies, her family said.

“We remain steadfast in our desire to honor Haruka’s memory through kindness and love, not violence,” her family said in a statement on Friday.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Toni Reinhold, Grant McCool)



4 thoughts on “Homeless Teen Arrested in Killing of University of Texas Student Haruka Weiser

  1. “Police tracked Criner to a homeless shelter, where he was arrested.”

    Exactly HOW do you ‘track’ a homeless person?

    “Criner, who was not a student at the university, had a bag believed to belong to Weiser,…”

    And this is the only hard ‘evidence’ against him? Why is the bag merely ‘BELIEVED’ to have belonged to the victim? If it was hers, WOULDN’T THERE BE HER DNA ON IT???

    I’m thinking about their ramping up the demonizing of homelessness, and this fits quite well into their agenda.

    1. I actually sent a different report that had more details. I guess it had a copy right that I didn’t notice. I’ll try to find it again. It stated that he had her hot pink girls bicycle, her blue bag, and her Mac laptop with a Portland sticker on it.

  2. What happened to actual evidence?
    I don’t know if he did this or not but what i do know is this kind of shit is happening for a reason.

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