Homeless teen charged with murder of Haruka Weiser - KPTV - FOX 12

Homeless teen charged with murder of Haruka Weiser

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Haruka Weiser, family photo Haruka Weiser, family photo
Haruka Weiser, family photo Haruka Weiser, family photo
Surveillance image of murder suspect accused of killing Haruka Weiser. Surveillance image of murder suspect accused of killing Haruka Weiser.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Police have arrested a 17-year-old homeless teen in the murder of Portland woman Haruka Weiser, who was found dead at The University of Texas at Austin this week.

In a news conference Friday morning, police Chief Art Acevedo identified the suspect as 17-year-old Meechaiel Criner. Police said he was not a student at the university, and the motive is unknown at this time. 

Weiser had been seen leaving the drama building on campus at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, and communicated with a friend while she was heading back to her dorm but never arrived there.

On Monday, fire crews had responded to a trash fire. Items found at that scene were related to the victim, according to police.

Weiser's body was later discovered near the school's alumni center Tuesday morning, and the medical examiner determined that her death was a homicide.

After an investigation by the Austin Police Department and a woman's tip, surveillance video of the suspect connected Criner to both the fire and Weiser's murder.

Criner had been charged with tampering with evidence, and will be formally charged with first-degree murder Friday afternoon.

Weiser had attended the Arts and Communications Magnet Academy in Beaverton for six years. She received a full dance scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her family created a Facebook page in her honor and released a statement Friday saying they are relieved an arrest has been made. 

During the press conference Friday, Police Chief Art Acevedo emphasized that Austin is a safe city, but community members still need to "always be vigilant, no matter how safe the city is." 

Both the Austin police chief and the Austin campus police chief noted that this is an active investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call police.

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