AUSTIN, TX (KTRK) --Hundreds have attended a University of Texas vigil honoring a first-year dance student whose slaying has shocked the campus.
Eighteen-year-old Haruka Weiser was last seen leaving a university drama building Sunday night. Her body was discovered in a creek in the heart of the university's Austin campus on Tuesday.
The crowd that gathered Thursday evening on UT's East Mall held a moment of silence, then heard speeches from students, administrators and faculty members.
Organizers distributed black ribbons and note cards for writing messages. Grief counselors also attended.
Police have released surveillance video of a man they say is a suspect in the case. An autopsy showed Weiser was assaulted, but authorities have not shared details of how she died.
Sophomore Jennifer Eze said, "I'm glad there is a suspect at least. It could be him, it could not be him. I don't feel very secure yet."
Investigators released a picture of a bike similar in style and color. They say the suspect was riding a red or pink women's bicycle.
Austin Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay said, "The police department as well as so many entities today will not rest until the suspect is arrested."
WATCH: Students on edge after body found on UT-Austin campus
They say the picture of their prime suspect was captured on the north side of the football stadium, not far from Waller Creek where the body of the freshman was found.
UT President Gary Fenves said, "As a parent, this is my worst nightmare. As a parent who sent my kids off to college expecting them to be safe, I really understand Haruka's parent."
Friends and family waited for two days and then their worst fears were confirmed. It was the dancer from Portland, Oregon, Haruka Weiser. Police say Weiser communicated with friends just before she was leaving and returning to her dorm but wasn't heard from again.
I am devastated to learn that our student Haruka Weiser has been identified as the victim of the homicide. https://t.co/47BasRH3vb— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) April 7, 2016
A missing persons report led police to look in the area but her body wasn't found until the retraced her steps on Tuesday.
Senior Andrea Soto said, "It's taken a toll on a lot of my friends. If the police can help or if there can be other measurements for men and women, maybe it would make us feel better about the situation."
Investigators are only saying the young woman was assaulted before being killed. No murder weapon was found at the scene. Their best hope for justice is someone identifying the man and bike.
Authorities are offering up to a $15,000 reward for information about her murder.
Original report: Body found on UT-Austin campus
Below is a statement released by Haruka's family Thursday
- "Haruka Juliana Tsunemine Weiser, our beloved daughter, sister and friend was taken from us too soon. We will forever miss her; the pain of our sudden and tragic loss is unfathomable. We are grateful for all the support, kindness and prayers that have been offered to us. Words cannot express the outpouring of love we have received.
Haruka was a passionate and dedicated dancer and student. She was so happy to be a student at UT and was looking forward to the chance to perform again as a Dance Major and she was declaring a second major in pre-med studies, too. She had plans to explore the world of medicine this summer and to travel to visit family in Japan.
Although Haruka loved to perform on stage she never sought the spotlight in her daily life. Perhaps the last thing she would want it to be the poster child for any cause. And yet, as we struggle to understand why she was killed, if her death can somehow make it safer for a young woman to walk home, if it will prevent another assault or murder, then at least we could find some meaning behind an otherwise senseless and tragic death. To her friends, the many of students at UT and at her high school in all the dance programs in which she participated we are united in prayer for Haruka and for each other. No parent, brother, sister or friend should have to face this kind of sadness, this kind of loss.
Yet, many do. And now we have joined that family. At UT, Haruka did make many friends and received so much support from this community. We know Haruka would not wish for us be stuck in sadness but to keep living life to the fullest; that is what we will try to do in the coming days. And we offer prayers and encouragement for you to do the same.
Thank you for respecting our privacy at this time."