Students gathered at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Monday after it was announced that the man accused of killing a 19-year-old student had confessed to her brutal slaying.
Ruth George was reported missing by her family over the weekend. Her body was later found inside of a campus parking garage, and 26-year-old Donald Thurman is facing first-degree murder charges in her death.
On Monday, students gathered for a vigil to mourn George’s death, remembering a girl who had been on campus for less than two years, but had made a big impact on the lives of those around her.
“We have this invincibility about us. We often don’t think about death,” one student said.
George was an honors student who dreamed of becoming a physical therapist. Her classmates remembered her as a sweet girl with a bright smile, full of compassion and willing to help anyone who needed it.
Students also say that the crime has shocked them, and that they will remain aware of their surroundings when walking on campus.
“I park there every day,” Cynthia Martinez said. “I can’t believe that happened.”
Police say that surveillance footage showed Thurman follow George into a parking garage just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday. A short time later, Thurman is seen leaving the garage, and using surveillance footage at a nearby Blue Line station, police were able to determine a pattern of travel for their suspect.
Thurman was taken into custody in the early hours of Sunday morning, and confessed to killing George later that afternoon.
First degree murder charges and sexual assault charges were filed against Thurman, who will be transferred into Chicago police custody.