19-year-old University of Utah student killed in Salt Lake City hotel, boyfriend charged with murder

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 11, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Students and faculty at the University of Utah are coping with the death of a 19-year-old undergraduate student, who police say was murdered Friday morning by her boyfriend in a downtown Salt Lake City hotel room.

“It is with heavy hearts that we inform our campus about the death of a 19-year-old University of Utah international undergraduate student,” the U of U said in a Friday afternoon press release. “The death occurred this morning off campus and the Salt Lake City Police Department is investigating. Police have indicated the situation was likely a domestic violence situation. A 26-year-old man, also a U student, has been arrested in connection to the investigation. There is no ongoing threat to campus.”

The suspect, identified by the Salt Lake City Police Department as Haoyu Wang, is a student from China attending the University of Utah. According to the SLCPD, Wang injected his 19-year-old girlfriend with a fatal dose of heroin and then attempted to kill himself.

In a probable cause statement filed in Salt Lake County Third District Court by Salt Lake City Police, “University PD was made aware of an email sent from a student to a member of the University of Utah staff. The email written and sent by A/P (arrested person) Haoyu Wang who stated that he injected his girlfriend, the victim, with heroin to relieve her from suffering. The e-mail indicated that both would be dead when they were found.

“University Police pinged the victims phone bringing them to 616 South 200 West,” according to a SLCPD officer’s affidavit included in the probable cause statement. “SLCPD and University PD conducted a welfare check on the hotel room registered to Haoyu Wang.”

When police made entry they found the suspect and the 19-year-old woman inside the room. “It was apparent the girl was deceased,” the statement said.

“Post-Miranda Haoyu said the two intended to commit suicide together,” the SLCPD officer wrote. “He ordered heroin and fentanyl on the dark net. He and the victim both snorted heroin. The victim… became unresponsive with labored breathing. Haoyu then injected her with a high dose of heroin with the intent to kill her and relieve her suffering. After injecting the victim, Haoyu said that she died. Haoyu then injected himself with heroin and remained in the room with the victim until police arrived.”

Wang as been booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where he’s being held without bail on a first-degree felony charge of “murder-knowing and intentional.”

An SLCPD statement said, “Wang and the woman were in a romantic relationship and had been living together. As such, this case is being investigated as a domestic violence-related homicide.”

A review of court records shows Wang was charged in an alleged domestic violence case for physically assaulting a girlfriend on Jan. 12, 2022. In the probable cause statement in that case, an SLCPD officer said that Wang “got into a verbal argument with his girlfriend and that he hit her in the head.” The officer said Yang “had a swollen right hand and EMS described the victims injuries as a goose egg on her head. Both involved parties stated they are girlfriend and boyfriend…,” the statement said.

It’s unclear from the probable cause statements if the girlfriend involved in the January incident was same woman who died Friday morning.

Police have yet to release the victim’s name pending notification of family members.

The University of Utah offered words of support for a school recently traumatized by domestic violence involving students.

“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.

“We urge anyone in need of support to reach out to those around them and university resources for help (list below). The university’s Counseling Center is open to students, and the Employee Assistance Program provides counseling to employees. The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition is also a resource—call 1-800-97-LINK (5465). Additional campus resources and information are available at SafeU.utah.edu.

“The death of any young person embarking on adult life is devastating,” the U statement said. “And, unfortunately, domestic violence is more prevalent than many of us are aware, even among college students.

“On behalf of the university, we extend our heartfelt grief and sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of the victim during this incredibly difficult time.”

The statement was signed by Keith Squires, chief safety officer, and Lori McDonald, vice president for student affairs.


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