A Chicago man has been charged with sexually assaulting and murdering an Indian-American student at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Nov. 23. Ruth George, 19, a freshman, was reportedly found dead in a campus parking garage.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Donald Thurman, 26, allegedly confessed to killing George after he followed her inside the Halsted Street Parking Garage around 1:35 a.m. on Nov. 23.
The report said that Thruman was on parole. The report, citing court records, said that Thurman was sentenced to six years in state prison for a 2016 armed robbery and was released last year and scheduled to remain on parole until late 2021.
He was expected to appear in Cook County court on Nov. 26. He is charged with first-degree murder and criminal sexual assault. News reports, quoting police, say that Thruman killed George by strangulation.
Thurman is said to be living near the university campus, but had no affiliation to the university. UIC police Chief Kevin Booker told the Chicago Tribune that university cameras captured the suspect walking behind George as she entered the garage about 1:35 a.m. on Nov. 23. About 35 minutes later, video footage captured the man walking south.
George, a kinesiology major, who was part of the university’s Honors College, was living on campus. She was a 2018 graduate of Naperville Central High School and a member of the gymnastics team.
Her death has shaken her family, friends and the campus community.
UIC’s Chancellor, Michael Amiridis, said in a statement that George had “dreams and aspirations to become a health professional and help others. The traumatic loss of life of one of our community members is very difficult to comprehend and surely invokes a range of emotions for all of us,” he said.
George’s high school gymnastics coach, Christina Tardy, told the Chicago Tribune that the school was “devastated” by news of George’s death.
George’s sister, Ester George, wrote in a Facebook post, that Ruth “was the light of our family and the best of all of us.” “She was wise beyond her years and now she is gone to soon.”