Shock waves rippled through the University of Texas campus on Tuesday after officials confirmed a homicide investigation was underway after a female victim’s body was found in Waller Creek.
“My heart and our hearts go out to the victim and to their family,” UT president Gregory Fenves said in a press conference Tuesday. “We will be investigating this very heavily.”
Now, investigators say the victim is 18-year-old Haruka Weiser, a first-year ballet student in the Theater and Dance department.
Weiser, from Portland, Oregon, was a student at the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton, Oregon, and performed as a dancer with the Portland Ballet.
In 2014, she told The Portland Tribune that though dancing was hard work, it also gave her a “rush.”
“Every time before a show, for me at least, it gets really rough. I’ll be like, ‘I want to quit. I never want to dance again.’ And as soon as the show happens, I’m back in it,” Weiser, then 17, told the paper. “It really is a rush. There really is nothing like it, and it is so short. To people who maybe are more logical than me, it’s not worth it. But somehow that cycle of it just keeps happening over and over again and keeps you going.”
Beaverton School District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler confirms to PEOPLE that Weiser was a student from sixth grade until her graduation at 2015.
“She was well loved, and very, very talented,” Wheeler says.
UT president Fenves said in a statement that Weiser was recruited by UT from her hometown more than two years ago when she performed at the National High School Dance Festival.
“Haruka was a beloved member of our dance community, liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit,” Fenves said.