PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A visiting graduate student at Brown University was charged with murder and held on $US10 million bond after he allegedly traveled across the country to Illinois and stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death, school officials said Monday.
Brown spokesman Mark Nickel said Yongfei Ci was one of 14 graduate students who began the semester-long mathematics program at the Ivy League university on Sept. 9. Nickel said Ci is a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ci, 29, was arrested Friday, not long after he allegedly broke into the off-campus apartment of his estranged girlfriend, Mengchen Huang, 25, and stabbed her to death, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported. A University of Illinois spokeswoman said Huang had earned a master’s degree in art history in May and was pursuing a Ph.D. while on a visa from China.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Ci, a Chinese national, has a defence attorney.
One of Huang’s friends told authorities she was at Huang’s apartment when she said Ci forced his way in, covered both women’s mouths with duct tape and then put the friend in the bathroom. She escaped and called police. Meanwhile, he allegedly stabbed Huang and slit her throat.
Authorities tracked Ci’s mobile phone to a different Urbana apartment building about an hour. Police said when Ci saw them arrive he called 911 and said he would turn himself in.
Nickel said Ci was a visitor in residence at the Brown’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics. He said he was not aware of any problems with Ci since he started there a few weeks ago.
Robin Kaler, a spokeswoman for the University of Illinois, would not comment on whether there had been any problems with Ci reported on that campus previously. She said there were heavy hearts this week on campus for Huang.
“Obviously, the entire university community is grieving for her. She was a member of our family,” she said.
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