A 20-year-old college student was found dead in her home in Pittsburgh when her parents arrived to take her on a family charity walk on Sunday morning.
Alina Sheykhet, who was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, was pronounced dead at her residence after police arrived a little before 9 a.m., according the Pittsburgh Police Department. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Speaking to TribLive, her father, Yan Sheykhet, described his daughter as a bright and vivacious girl who aspired to be a physical therapist.
“It was her dream,” he said. “And she worked so hard. She was the best person in the world.”
“I lost my beautiful princess,” he continued. “I don’t know what else to say.”
He added that “She made everyone happy. She had such a bright future.”
It was her father who found her dead at her home in Oakland, after he forced the door open. She was set to go to a breast cancer awareness walk with her parents that morning, as well as celebrate her brother, Artem’s, birthday, according to TribLive.
Pittsburgh police released a photo of Sheyket’s ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Matthew Darby, who is being sought for the investigation. He has not been charged, according to Fox News.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert tweeted Monday on the investigation, writing, “We don’t believe this is a random act of violence. There is no cont’d threat to Oakland residents & the university communities.”
According to a report by the Associated Press, Sheykhet had a restraining order against Darby. He was arrested on Sept. 26 and charged with felony criminal trespass for allegedly breaking into her apartment, the AP reports.
Sheykhet wrote in her protection filing that Darby had allegedly climbed up the gutter of her home and broken in through a second-floor window.
“He did this because I left him and stopped answering his phone calls,” she wrote in the filing, according to the AP. The order was granted.
Yan described the moment he found his daughter on the floor, covered in multiple bruises and bleeding.
“I was screaming, asking her to breathe,” Yan told TribLive. “But she didn’t. There was lots of blood.”
A friend of Sheykhet’s, Alex McCleary, posted a tribute to her on Twitter, writing, “Heartbroken that this happened to such a beautiful, sweet, and innocent girl. You are loved Alina. Praying for the Sheykhet family.”
A second friend, Taylor Bobak, posted on Facebook, writing, “RIP you will be missed.”
Sheykhet’s best friend, Paige Mackenzie O’Neil, started a GoFundMe for the Sheykhet’s to cover funeral expenses. She also posted a photo of the two on Facebook Sunday.
“No one ever expect this to happen to them,” she wrote in the description. “The amount of love people have for Alina is unreal. She has always been the nicest person anyone will ever meet.”
“It’s the least I can do with how her family has treated me as one of their own since the start,” she continued. “Any donation helps, even if it’s a dollar. I love you so much Alina, I’ll always keep you forever in my heart.”