International student killed by boyfriend, Utah university says. Family awarded millions
The household of a world pupil who officers say was killed by her boyfriend has been awarded $5 million in a settlement with the College of Utah.
Haoyu Wang injected 19-year-old Zhifan Dong, a world pupil from China, with a deadly dose of heroin and fentanyl on Feb. 11, 2022, in accordance with a July information launch from the College of Utah.
Wang, 26, who information retailers report was additionally a world pupil on the College of Utah, was charged with first-degree homicide, the college mentioned.
An legal professional representing Wang beforehand entered a not responsible plea on his behalf, NBC Information reported. The legal professional instructed the outlet in July that “we’re ready to maneuver ahead to trial and to vigorously defend in opposition to the claims made in opposition to him to a jury of his friends” and that “there are psychological well being points regarding everybody concerned on this case that can should be addressed previous to trial.”
McClatchy Information has reached out to the legal professional for additional remark.
Wang stays incarcerated and is awaiting trial, KSL reported.
In a settlement settlement reached with Dong’s household on Feb. 21, the college acknowledged “shortcomings within the response of its housing and residential schooling workforce to the complicated scenario” that led as much as Dong’s loss of life.
“Our campus continues to mourn the loss of life of Zhifan Dong,” college president Taylor Randall mentioned in an announcement concerning the settlement. “At the moment’s settlement demonstrates our seriousness in honoring Zhifan Dong and reaffirming our dedication to the continued work of addressing all features of pupil security.”
In its July 19 launch, the college mentioned that it had addressed the “deficiencies,” together with “inadequate and unprofessional communications,” a ”want for readability” in housing employees coaching and a delay in employees members notifying police and different college leaders about warning indicators of intimate companion violence.
“In relation to defending our college students, our job is rarely completed,” Randall mentioned in a letter despatched to college students, in accordance with the college’s launch. “I’ve challenged college senior leaders to go away no stone unturned as we search further methods to boost security.”
No grievance was filed in opposition to the college, however attorneys representing Dong’s household mentioned in an announcement that the settlement represented a step towards justice for Dong.
“The Dong Household is grateful to shut this chapter of their journey for justice for his or her daughter,” Brian Stewart, an legal professional with Parker & McConkie, mentioned in an announcement. “They sincerely hope that Zhifan’s reminiscence will encourage others to assist forestall intimate companion violence and save lives on campus and in all our communities.”
The Utah legislature should approve the settlement earlier than the cash will be paid to the household, in accordance with the College of Utah. Settlements over $1 million have to be authorised by the governor and the state legislature, in accordance with the Utah state code. The governor has already authorised the settlement, in accordance with the college.
Dong was discovered lifeless at a High quality Inn in Salt Lake Metropolis on Feb. 11, 2022, in accordance with The Salt Lake Tribune.
Wang, who the outlet recognized as Dong’s boyfriend, had despatched an e-mail to a College of Utah worker saying that he and Dong had been planning to make use of medicine to “have a painless loss of life” and could be lifeless earlier than anybody discovered them, in accordance with the outlet.
Wang, who later instructed police that he’d purchased the medicine on the “darkish web” utilizing bitcoin, mentioned each he and Dong took the medicine, after which Dong “grew to become unresponsive,” in accordance with The Salt Lake Tribune.
He mentioned he seen she was having hassle respiratory, and he injected her with heroin with the “intent to kill her and relieve her struggling,” ABC4 reported, citing court docket data.
In a timeline of occasions launched by the college, housing employees had been delayed in notifying college police and different campus authorities of “indications that there might have been an lively intimate companion violence scenario involving the 2 college students.”
Salt Lake Metropolis police had beforehand arrested Wang on Jan. 12 after they mentioned he hit Dong within the head throughout an argument, in accordance with the college.
The incident was not reported to the college’s Workplace of Equal Alternative, Affirmative Motion, and Title IX; Workplace of the Dean of College students or the campus police, as required by college coverage, the assertion says.
“College Security leaders” didn’t study concerning the historical past of violence till Dong was reported lacking on Feb. 8, in accordance with the college.
She was discovered lifeless on the High quality Inn on Feb. 11 by college police who pinged her cellphone, in accordance with ABC4.
“No life ought to ever finish in such tragic circumstances,” the college’s chief security officer Keith Squires mentioned in an announcement. “As quickly as our police discovered of the intimate companion violence between these two college students, our officers launched a complete and deliberate seek for Zhifan Dong and Haoyu Wang in coordination with Salt Lake Metropolis Police. We stay saddened that we had been unable to find them in time.”
One other settlement
In 2020, the College of Utah settled a lawsuit for $10.5 million and agreed to donate $3 million to the inspiration honoring a pupil athlete who authorities mentioned was killed by her ex-boyfriend, in accordance with ABC Information.
Lauren McCluskey, 21, was discovered shot to loss of life in a automobile in 2018, McClatchy Information beforehand reported. Her former boyfriend, Melvin Rowland, 37, then died by suicide.
In a grievance filed in opposition to the college, McCluskey’s dad and mom mentioned that college officers dismissed their daughter’s requests for assist earlier than she was killed, in accordance with ABC. Then-university president Ruth V. Watkins mentioned throughout a press convention on the time that the college had “failed” McCluskey and her household, the outlet reported.
Watkins additionally dedicated to enhancing campus security, in accordance with WGAU Radio.
’Her brief life on earth was not in useless’
Dong, who was her dad and mom’ solely baby, was a “lovely and succesful younger girl,” they mentioned in an announcement that was translated into English from Mandarin and shared by their legal professionals.
She was a very good good friend and a loving daughter who had many “respectable traits,” the assertion says.
“In these brief nineteen years, she lived a wealthy and fulfilling life,” the assertion says. “… Her brief life on earth was not in useless.”
Her dad and mom mentioned that they don’t need to consider that Dong is basically lifeless and that they generally really feel she remains to be with them.
“The loss makes us very unhappy, leaving us solely limitless unhappiness and longing, and too many regrets,” the assertion says. “Once we shed tears and choked up over the images of our daughter, her beautiful smiling face and acquainted voice replayed in our minds again and again.”
Additionally they mentioned they hoped their daughter’s reminiscence might be an inspiration to others to assist forestall intimate companion violence each on campuses and in communities.
“We hope she is going to encourage different victims to hunt assist and to go away their abusers,” the assertion says.
As a part of the settlement settlement, the college mentioned it can set up a memorial on campus in Dong’s honor.
In case you are experiencing home violence and want somebody to speak to, name the Nationwide Home Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-7233 or textual content “START” to 88788.
When you or somebody you already know is fighting psychological well being or suicidal ideas, please name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800 273-8255 or textual content the Disaster Textual content Line at 741741.
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