Update: Further information on the murder at the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
January 22, 2009
Virginia Tech Police have confirmed the name of the female graduate student murdered yesterday evening in the university's Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.
She was Xin Yang, a 22-year-old graduate student from Beijing, China. She had just arrived at Virginia Tech Jan. 8 to begin her studies in accounting in the Pamplin College of Business. She was a resident of the Graduate Life Center.
Yang was killed at the Au Bon Pain restaurant on the first floor of the Graduate Life Center at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday evening. Haiyang Zhu, age 25, from Ningbo, China, was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond at Montgomery County jail. He was a Ph.D. graduate student majoring in agricultural and applied economics. He began his studies at Virginia Tech at the start of the 2008 fall semester. Based on emergency contact records maintained by the university, it is known that Zhu and Yang knew each other.
They were in the Au Bon Pain restaurant when he attacked her. Witnesses indicated no signs of argument and that Zhu attacked her with a knife.
Zhu had not been under review or had come before the workings of the Virginia Tech Police Department, or the Town of Blacksburg Police Department, or the university’s Threat Assessment Team or CARE Team.
The victim’s mother, who is in China, was notified last night via telephone.
University leadership remains concerned about the welfare of the university student community, and particularly the community of Chinese Scholars. The university has counselors on the scene at the Graduate Life Center to assist students, staff, faculty, or others who seek assistance.
Counselors will be available to support faculty and staff on Friday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Jamestown room in Squires Student Center. Faculty and staff may also call Employee Relations at 231-9331 or ValueOptions at 866-725-8279 for support. Information about dealing with the emotional response to traumatic events can be found at the ValueOptions website and at the Achieve Solutions website.
The crime scene is secured, but Graduate Life Center residents are free to come and go. Police interviewed several witnesses and are providing counseling support and assistance.