Ruth George was a sophomore honors student majoring in kinesiology and had hoped to be a health professional

By Harriet Sokmensuer
November 25, 2019 11:34 AM
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Ruth George
Credit: Facebook

Police in Chicago have announced that a person of interest is in custody in connection with the strangulation death of a University of Illinois at Chicago student over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, the body of 19-year-old Ruth George was found in the backseat of a car parked in a campus parking garage, according to UIC police. George’s family had reported her missing and UIC police were able to locate her after tracking her cell phone.

George had been strangled and her death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County Medical Examiner announced Sunday night, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Police say shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, George entered the parking garage alone, closely followed by a man.

“Considering that it’s finals time, a lot of people do study at the library pretty late and I think a lot of people choose that lot because it’s right there,” UIC senior Danielle Perkins told WSL-TV. “It really hurts because it could have been anybody.”

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On Sunday night, a man not affiliated with the university was taken into custody to be questioned by police.

“Dearest Ruthie baby…. we miss you…just not able to believe you’re no more,” family member Susainia Deborah wrote on Facebook. “You were a loving and wonderful daughter, sister and cousin..Rest in peace Ruth George… we love you…”

George was from Naperville, Illinois, where she graduated from the local high school in 2018, according to her Facebook.

“Ruth was such a sweet girl and had the biggest and brightest smile,” Naperville Central High School gymnastics coach Christina Tardy said, according to Fox 32 Chicago. “We loved having her as a member of the NCHS gymnastics team and she was so fun to watch compete, especially on the floor exercise. She was a great teammate and we are going to miss her dearly.”

George was a sophomore honors student majoring in kinesiology and had hoped to be a health professional.

“The traumatic loss of life of one of our community members is very difficult to comprehend and surely invokes a range of emotions for all of us,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.