MADISON, Wis. — An American hiker was killed in a brutal attack in Germany and a friend who tried to protect her recently graduated from the University of Illinois with a computer degree.
Authorities have not released the names of anyone involved in the June 14 incident due to German privacy regulations. But Pastor Mark Zhang of Living Water Evangelical Church in Naperville, Illinois, said Tuesday that 21-year-old Eva Liu and her parents went to the church and Liu’s parents told him she had been killed.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” Zhang said. “Our words are powerless. We just mourn along with them and pray for them. When one family suffers, our whole church suffers.”
Weihan Chang of Normal, Illinois, said that his daughter, Kelsey Chang, 22, survived the attack. She was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and is on a plane home on Tuesday. He said he didn’t get a chance to talk to her much.
Weihan Chang told the Associated Press: “She was pretty traumatized after the incident. “It’s life-changing.”
According to authorities, Liu and Chang were hiking near Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany on the afternoon of June 14. The two women encountered a 30-year-old man from Michigan on the street. According to police, he lured them onto a trail leading to a lookout point. At some point, he attacked Liu. When Chang tried to help her, the man threw Chang over the cliff. She fell nearly 165 feet (50 meters).
The man then apparently attempted to sexually assault Liu before throwing her off the cliff. Mountain rescue teams reached the women, but Liu died in hospital that night.
The Michigan man left the scene but was arrested nearby. A bystander said the man had scratches on his face but said nothing when police took him to jail.
The man is suspected of murder, attempted murder and sex offenses but prosecutors say it could be three to four months before he is charged.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Vice Chancellor Robin Kaler said in a statement Monday night that Liu and Chang both graduated from the school in May. Liu has a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Chang has a degree in computer engineering.
“Our University of Illinois family is mourning the senseless death of Ms. Liu and the (her friend) attack,” Kaler said. “Both had just graduated in May and should have been able to celebrate such an important achievement with fear of such a tragic outcome.”
Barry Gin, another pastor at Living Water Evangelical Church in Naperville, said that Liu was a member of the church’s youth group before attending boarding school at the Illinois Institute of Mathematics and Science in Aurora as a student. second year. Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli planned to observe a minute of silence in honor of Liu at the city council meeting Tuesday night.
Neuschwanstein, located in southern Bavaria near the Austrian border, is one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions.
This is the most famous castle built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. Construction began in 1869 but was never completed. Ludwig died in 1886.