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Search warrant unsealed in Haruka Weiser murder investigation

Former ACMA dance student was killed on University of Texas campus in Austin

Meechaiel Criner and Haruka WeiserA search warrant for murder suspect Meechaiel Criner has been unsealed by a Texas judge, according to Pamplin Media Group’s news partner KOIN 6 News.

Criner is accused of killing Beaverton resident Haruka Weiser, a student at the University of Texas who was murdered on the school's campus last month.

According to Austin news channel KXAN, the warrant says that police believe 17-year-old Criner intentionally and knowingly caused the death of Weiser, 18. Police said there were signs of “obvious trauma” to her body and evidence of sexual assault.

On the evening of April 3, Weiser called a friend as she was leaving a drama building around 9:30 p.m. to tell her that she was coming home. But Weiser was never seen alive again.

The next day, April 4, Weiser did not show up for class leading to a missing persons report filed with UTPD. Her roommate told police Weiser was carrying a duffle bag with her laptop, phone, jacket and study materials.

Her body was found April 5 around 9:45 a.m. in Waller Creek near the campus’ Alumni Center. A medical examiner ruled her cause of death as a homicide. Investigators say biological matter found at the scene would be analyzed. Police took DNA swabs and hair from Criner to be tested against evidence found at the scene.

Surveillance video (which was not released to the public) showed a man around Waller Creek the night of Weiser’s death. The warrant states that the suspect was seen riding a bike around the area near Winship Hall at about 9:20 p.m. The man showed up on surveillance video again at 9:38 p.m. as a young woman dressed in all black can be seen walking past him in the direction of the Alumni Center.

According to the affidavit, the woman continues walking toward a bridge, passing the suspect. Police say the video shows the suspect put his bike’s kickstand down and reached into the back of his pants with his left hand and pulled out what appeared to be a “shiny rigid object.” The suspect then followed the woman across the bridge and onto the sidewalk that extends behind the Alumni Center. The suspect is not seen again on surveillance video until 11:47 p.m. when he’s walking along 23rd Street on the north side of the football stadium. The next time the suspect appears on camera, he is carrying a small duffel bag that he did not previously have in the video. He also appeared to have an injury to his left leg.

Police made the link to Criner after the Austin Fire Department was alerted to a trash fire on April 4 at 2900 Medical Arts Street, which is just off-campus. When firefighters arrived, they found Criner, who had a woman’s bicycle in his possession as well as a small blue duffel bag that resembles the one that Wiser had. Among the items found in the ashes of the fire Criner started, was a Doc Martens shoe, a notebook, and a black jacket. Weiser's roommate said she was last seen wearing Doc Martens shoes, a black shirt and black pants.

Because Criner was homeless, police took him to LifeWorks for treatment and shelter. Criner was arrested on April 8. The LifeWorks site Criner was staying at was searched by police April 11.