As homicide investigation continues, students and parents raise concerns over lack of information

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UTPD officer Wusterhausen stands watch near the site where a woman’s body was found Tuesday morning.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

UT will provide increased safety measures for students as the homicide investigation on campus continues.

In addition to extra officers and police vehicles patrolling campus, the University will provide extra van shuttles for students after their evening rehearsals near the Winship and Fine Arts buildings. UT President Gregory Fenves said other enhanced safety measures on campus are being reviewed.

The Austin Police Department will lead the investigation into the homicide, according to an email sent to the University community Wednesday afternoon. However, law enforcement and the University have not released further information because it would “compromise their efforts,” according to an email from Fenves. Meanwhile, students and UT parents raised concerns about the lack of information surrounding a possible suspect. 

UT police will continue to assist APD with the investigation, along with University of Texas System police, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers. 

According to an email Fenves sent to the University Wednesday morning, law enforcement agencies working on the investigation have finished processing the crime scene.

“[The law enforcement agencies] are working to identify the victim and are focused on locating and apprehending a suspect in this unthinkable crime,” Fenves said in the email.

SURE Walk, which provides walks accompanied by volunteers from campus to the West and North Campus areas, said it has experienced a 400 percent increase in users since Tuesday night. 

Kristan Sachdev, health and society junior and the group’s director, said SURE Walk is stationed in the PCL and the Student Activity Center, and walkers will meet students anywhere on campus to accompany them.

“If a student wants a walk from the stadium, we’ll meet them at the stadium and take them to their destination,” Sachdev said. 

SURE Walk is available Monday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

Aerospace engineering junior Shawn Killian said he was “confused” and “a little bit” concerned about the recent sequence of events but said he felt safe on campus and understood why certain details are being withheld from the public.

“If I was the parent of that child, I don’t think I would want my child’s death to be publicized immediately to 50,000 students right away,” Killian said. “I think I would need at a few days for things to be hashed out to see what actually happened.” 

Angela Price, parent of a business freshman from Aledo, Texas, said she would like to receive more communication from the University. 

“Our daughter has said she doesn’t feel overly afraid, which is a good thing,” Price said. “But there’s a part of me that just wants to go home and grab her because it’s such an unknown right now.”

Price said she understands officials are limited to what they can say during an ongoing investigation but wants to be updated continuously. 

“I assume that [authorities] are just doing the best they can,” Price said. “But this sitting and waiting. … it’s hard.” 

According to UTPD crime logs, no homicides have occurred on the UT-Austin campus in the last 15 years. 

The homicide was first reported Tuesday morning in an email to the University community after a body was found in Waller Creek, west of the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, earlier that day.