A 25 year old female Chinese student was killed at her off campus apartment 1343 North Lincoln Avenue. The suspect forced his way into the apartment and restrained her roommate. The roommate was able to free herself after the murder left and alerted police.
A student who claimed to live next to the room said he/she did not hear sound of gunshot.
It is reported that the suspect came from Shijiazhuang of Hebei Province. Ci graduated from Beijing Communication University and Oregon State University before being accepted into UIUC in 2008.
The suspect is 29 year old Ci Yongfei, a PhD student in Mathematics, specialized in topology and geometry in 3-minifolds. According to the suspect's homepage at UIUC, he is visiting ICERM at Brown University for the Fall semester of 2013. His PhD advisor Nathan Dunfield was on sabbatical leave for the academic year 2013-2014. Ci is Dunfield's only Chinese student, and the only male Chinese student in the Math Department. Ci is in his 6th year into PhD study, but had not published a single paper. It is disappointing, as an accepted paper is crucial for a timely graduation and competition on the already saturated job market; however, it is not uncommon for a doctoral student in Math.
Ci's cell phone was located at Value Place 1212 W. Anthony Drive in Champaign shortly after. Seeing police cars pulling in the parking lot of the motel, Ci called 911 to arrange his surrender. Ci was arrested without incident.
The Sina Weibo reported this incident in great detail at the early stage, much faster than Chinese platform frequent by oversea Chinese students. Despite the censorship and the Great FireWall, the gravity of information exchanges had leaned to the mainland based social networking sites, a sign of China's emerging 'soft power'.
It has been confirmed that the death was caused by stabbing.
A poem posted by the suspect, an avid poster on MITBBS:
falling 2013-02-06 21:02:29 那天傍晚时分，忽然下雪了 很大很大 不久 窗外就变成了一片白茫茫的世界 待雪稍微减弱 我说，在家里闷了一天了，出去散散步吧 你说，好 于是套上羽绒服，相拥出了门 街上半个人影都看不到 只有我和你 在没脚深的雪里蹒跚 发出嘎吱嘎吱的响声 除此之外再无其他声音 雪白，安静 就像童话里的世界 走出一段距离 同时回头看 四条脚印，歪歪扭扭 从远处一直延伸到脚下 你忽然使劲拽我的胳膊，仰头看着我，说 我好想让雪一直下 不停地下 咱俩一直这样走下去 永远不回头 好不好 我说，好阿 可是你忘了咱们家炉子上还炖着一锅牛肉呢
A post attributed to the suspect, on relationship with his girlfriend
发信人: falling (旋转坠落), 信区: Dreamer 标 题: 终于跟mm表白了，mm却生气了 发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Wed Feb 27 20:42:16 2013, 美东) 哥说，做哥的女朋友吧，哥之前的女友都很好看，你打破了哥这个标准 mm忽然晴转阴，二话没说转身走了 到今天没理我
Ci grew up in a noname city, went to a noname college in Beijing, followed by another noname college in the US, before starting his PhD study at UIUC. Yet he is attacking the most challenging subject among all science topics. Mathematics was not the popular major for Chinese students when Ci went to college, and Beijing Communication University was far from top-tier among thousands of Chinese colleges. Topology and Algebraic Geometry, extremely difficult themselves, became household names for Chinese students thanks to two great Chinese mathematicians (Shiing-Shen Chern and Shing-Tung Yau) who had made great contribution in these fields. Did Ci choose the subject he is working on by choice? Or was it one option of making a living? If the latter, then it could be a path too oppressive to navigated. In other words, when an overachiever taking great pressure in a foreign jungle, people close-by should watch out and prepare for a potential snap.
The Champaign County Coroner identified the woman as Mengchen Huang. Grew up in Nanjing, Huang graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts with a B.A. in Art History in 2010, and had been pursuing a Master's Degree in Arts & Humanities at UICU. Huang had 145 friends on Facebook. Ci had 19 friends. They were not friends of each other on Facebook as the homicide took place. Ci's status is listed as single.
Update: Huang was stabbed at least 3 times at throat, and her throat was slit. Huang's roommate was Xue Yang. Ci's bond was set at $10 million.
Yang, not knowing Ci's name, had heard about Ci from Huang, and said Huang had been afraid of this ex-boyfriend in Brown.
The UIUC Throat-slitting Case is yet another horrific crime committed by an oversea Chinese student onto another oversea Chinese student.
Update: Oct 22, 2013, Champaign County Courthouse. Ci pleaded not guilty on all charges of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder. Ci requested a jury trial. His attorney will be public defender George Vargas. Born in Costa Rica, the former Army captain obtained his law degree from Michigan State University and started his legal career in 2005.