The warrant states police believe 17-year-old Criner intentionally and knowingly caused the death of the 18-year-old student. Police said there were signs of “obvious trauma” to her body and evidence of sexual assault.
On the evening of April 3, Haruka called her friend as she was leaving a drama building around 9:30 p.m. to tell her that she was coming home. But Haruka was never seen alive again.
The next day, April 4, Haruka did not show up for class leading to a missing persons report filed with UTPD. Her roommate told police she 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 will 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 Haruka’s death. The warrant states the suspect was seen riding a bike around the area near Winship Hall around 9:20 p.m. He then disappears, showing up on surveillance video again at 9:38 p.m. as a girl dressed in all black can be seen walking past in the direction of the Alumni Center.
According to the affidavit, the woman continues walking towards the 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 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 alerted them to a trash fire they were called to on Monday, 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 Haruka had. Among the items in the ashes Criner burned, was a Doc Martin shoe, notebook, and black jacket. Haruka’s roommate said she was last seen wearing Doc Martin shoes, a black shirt and black pants.
Because he was homeless, police took him to LifeWorks for treatment and shelter. Criner was arrested on April 8. The LifeWorks Criner was staying at was searched by police April 11.