Man charged with murder, sexual assault of 19-year-old UIC student

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CHICAGO — A 26-year-old man has been charged in the death of a UIC student found inside a campus parking garage. Donald Thurman has been charged with first degree murder and criminal sexual assault, according to UIC police.

Thurman reportedly has a criminal record and was released from prison in Dec. 2018 for armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years, but only served two and is currently on parole.

Police said Thurman, of Chicago, was taken into custody Sunday at around 2 a.m. near the Blue Line at Halsted and Harrison. He reportedly confessed to police at around 3:20 p.m. Sunday.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, 19-year-old Ruth George of Berwyn was strangled, labeling her death as a homicide. UIC police found her unresponsive in the backseat of her white car that was parked inside the campus garage around 1:35 a.m. Saturday. Police traced her cellphone after her family reported her missing Saturday morning. Chicago authorities pronounced her dead at the scene. Thurman allegedly was following George on Halsted and entered the same parking garage moments after she did. Police said at 2:10 a.m. on Saturday, Thurman was seen leaving the parking garage.

George was in the Honor’s College and was studying Kinesiology, aiming to become a health professional. 

Students and employees parked inside the garage had to be questioned by police and escorted to their vehicles before leaving.

A memorial for George now sits along Halsted. It was set up by graduate student Gabrielle Powell.

“It’s an attack on all women,” Powell said. “I didn’t want people to forget Ruth.”

Moments after charges were filed in the case, hundreds gathered at UIC Monday to honor the life of George.


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