University of Utah Student Told Police He Killed Girlfriend in Suicide Pact
The student sent an email to a university employee saying he was going to inject his girlfriend with heroin to “relieve her from suffering.”
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A University of Utah student was arrested Friday in the death of his girlfriend who was also a student at the school.
The victim, a 19-year-old international student from China, was found dead in a Salt Lake City hotel room, reports Deseret News. Haoyu Wang, 26, who is also an international student from China, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder.
Salt Lake police were called to the Quality Inn Downtown on 616 South 200 West for a welfare check just before 6 a.m. Friday. Investigators received information from campus police that a man had made threats to kill his girlfriend. According to a police booking affidavit, Wang sent an email to a university employee that said he “injected his girlfriend, the victim, with heroin to relieve her from suffering” and that “both would be dead when they were found.”
Salt Lake City police, assisting University of Utah officers, arrived at the hotel after pinging the woman’s cellphone location. When police arrived, they found the deceased victim and the suspect in the room. The victim’s name has not yet been released pending notification of her family.
Wang reportedly told police that he and the woman intended to die by suicide together and that he ordered heroin and fentanyl on the “darknet,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The suspect said he and the victim snorted heroin and the woman became unresponsive. He said she died after he injected her with more drugs. Wang then told police he injected himself with heroin and remained in the room until police arrived.
Court records show Wang had previously been charged with one count of assault for domestic violence in January. He was scheduled to appear in court for that charge on Feb. 16.
In a letter sent to students Friday, Chief Safety Officer Keith Squires and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori McDonald acknowledged the incident as domestic violence.
“We know this news is difficult to process and will affect members of our campus community — especially those who are survivors or close to survivors of domestic violence,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, domestic violence is more prevalent than many of us are aware, even among college students.”
The international student’s death is the eighth killing or high-profile death of a University of Utah student or staff member. Four of those deaths, all female victims, were linked to domestic violence. Two of the incidents happened on-campus.
In Dec. 2016, staff member Katherine Peralta was shot and killed by her husband in a campus parking lot after she told him she planned to file for divorce. In Oct. 2018, student-athlete Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed on campus by a man she briefly dated. Three months later, medical resident Sarah Hawley was shot and killed by her boyfriend in their home. Five months later, 23-year-old kinesiology major MacKenzie Lueck was killed by a man she had communicated with on a dating app.
After McCluskey’s murder, serious accusations were made against the Univerity of Utah Police Department, including the mistreatment of female victims and officers and the hiring of leaders disciplined at previous agencies.
If you or someone you know is or may be a victim of domestic abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call -800-799-7233.
If you or someone you know is or may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-8255.