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University of Utah student killed girlfriend in alleged suicide pact, police say

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SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student was arrested Friday in the death of his girlfriend and fellow U. student at a Salt Lake hotel.

Haoyu Wang, 26, who is from China but attending the U., was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder.

Officers were called to the Quality Inn Downtown, 616 S. 200 West, just before 6 a.m. Friday as part of a "welfare check investigation." Investigators had received information from University of Utah police that a man had made threats to kill his girlfriend, according to a statement from Salt Lake police.

Wang sent an email to a staff member at the University of Utah that "stated that he injected his girlfriend, the victim, with heroin to relieve her from suffering. The email indicated that both would be dead when they were found," according to a police booking affidavit.

Investigators pinged Wang's cellphone, which led them to the downtown hotel, the affidavit states. Salt Lake police were called to the the hotel to assist University police with their investigation.

At the hotel, police found a 19-year-old woman deceased in a room, said Salt Lake police detective Michael Ruff. The name of the woman has not yet been released. The university identified her as an international undergraduate student and said her name was being withheld pending notification of her family. Police said the couple had been living together.

Wang told police he killed the woman and "attempted to kill himself by reportedly injecting himself with drugs," police said.

After he was examined at a local hospital, Wang was interviewed by detectives. He told them that he and his girlfriend "intended to commit suicide together. He ordered heroin and fentanyl on the dark net. He and the victim both snorted heroin," according to the affidavit.

The woman became unresponsive after taking heroin, the affidavit says.

"Haoyu then injected her with a high dose of heroin with the intent to kill her and relieve her suffering. After injecting the victim, Haoyu said that she died. Haoyu then injected himself with heroin and remained in the room with the victim until police arrived," police wrote in the affidavit.

In a statement to the campus community, the university said it was offering help for students and employees through its counseling centers.

"The death of any young person embarking on adult life is devastating. And unfortunately, domestic violence is more prevalent than many of us are aware, even among college students. On behalf of the university, we extend our heartfelt grief and sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of the victim during this incredibly difficult time," the statement said.

Domestic violence resources

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

Utah Domestic Violence Coalition: Utah's confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465)

YWCA Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600

Utah's statewide child abuse and neglect hotline: 1-855-323-DCFS (3237)

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Additional crisis hotlines:

Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433

Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000

Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393

National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741-741

Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources

Live On, NAMI Utah, Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Safe UT Crisis Text and Tip Line

In an emergency

Call the police

Go to the emergency room


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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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