Prosecutors said a 19-year-old student who attended the University of Illinois at Chicago was strangled and killed by a man over the weekend after she ignored his catcalls, The New York Times reports.
According to the Times, prosecutors said surveillance footage showed the student, Ruth George, walk into a parking garage on campus early on Saturday morning when she was followed by a man, who authorities have identified as 26-year-old Donald Thurman.
Prosecutors reportedly said that the suspect strangled her from behind after he “was angry that he was being ignored.”
“The defendant came up behind the victim, grabbed her around the neck from behind, and put her into a choke hold," Cook County Assistant State Attorney James Murphy said in a statement seen by a local ABC station. "With his arms still wrapped around the victim's neck the defendant dragged the victim from the ground and he opened her back seat car door."
Prosecutors also reportedly said the suspect sexually assaulted George once she became unconscious.
George’s body was later found by police in the back seat of her car. After reviewing surveillance footage of the suspect, police reportedly tracked Thurman to a local train station and arrested him on Sunday.
In a statement obtained by CNN, campus police said the offender was “taken into custody and subsequently gave a full confession to this horrific crime at approximately 3:20 p.m. on the same day.”
According to the Times, Thurman has since been charged with first-degree murder as well as criminal sexual assault. He has also reportedly been denied bail.
Police reportedly said they did not find a link between Thurman and the school or George, who had been in the honors program at the university and was studying kinesiology.
One student attending UIC, 20-year-old Maryann Tharian, told the Times that a number of girls who have experienced being catcalled respond the same way George did.
“We were just talking about what happened,” she told the paper. “We’ve all had experiences being catcalled. We’d do the same thing Ruth did. Ignore them and keep walking.”
“It’s just terrifying,” she added.
A co-ed fraternity George reportedly belonged to, Delta Epsilon Mu, has raised more than $20,000 on GoFundMe to help her family cover her funeral and other expenses.