Search warrants in the Haruka Weiser case unsealed on Thursday gave a glimpse into the investigation into the suspected killer of the University of Texas dance freshman.
Police have taken DNA swabs from the suspect in her killing, 17-year-old Meechaiel Khalil Criner. Police also seized several items from a local youth shelter where Criner was staying when he was arrested, including a pair of jeans that had a reddish stain on them that were checked for possible blood evidence, the warrants said.
Weiser went missing on April 3 while walking from a campus building to her dorm that night. She was discovered killed on the banks of Waller Creek near the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center two days later. It was the first homicide on UT campus in nearly 50 years.
That same week, police arrested and charged him with murder in connection with Weiser’s death. Criner is believed to have sexually assaulted and strangled Weiser, according to law enforcement sources close to the investigation. The warrants confirmed that it appears Weiser was sexually assaulted.
Police took swabs of unspecified “biological matter” from the crime scene, the warrant said.
At the LifeWorks youth shelter, police seized a laptop with a distinctive case, the warrant said. It matched the description of one believed to be Weiser’s, police have said.
Other items seized from the shelter included clothes, Latex gloves and a duffle bag and notebooks. At Austin police’s forensic lab, those items were checked for fingerprints and blood, the warrant said.
Criner had run away from a Killeen foster home before arriving in Austin.
Police connected him to the crime after surveillance footage released by investigators prompted Austin firefighters and an unnamed woman to call police, believing that a teenager they encountered during a fire call the morning after Weiser disappeared was the same person in the footage.
Police believe Criner was attempting to burn some items Weiser had in her possession when she went missing.