Charges filed in UIC student death

It has been a difficult weekend for our university and the UIC Police Department and I want to send my condolences to Ruth George’s family and friends during this very difficult time.

Today at 4:45 p.m., Donald D. Thurman, 26, was formally charged with first-degree murder and criminal sexual assault for the killing of UIC student Ruth George. The medical examiner ruled Ms. George’s death a homicide by strangulation.

Thurman will be processed and transported from the UIC Police station, where he has been held since his arrest on Sunday, to the Chicago Police Department lock-up facility.

His most recent address was near the UIC campus. He has no affiliation with the University or the victim.

The offender has a criminal record and was released from prison in December 2018 for armed robbery. He was sentenced to 6 years, but only served two and is currently on parole.

Investigation timeline according to UIC Police:

On Nov. 23 at 11 a.m., Ms. George’s family reported to the UIC Police that she had not been heard from since the evening of Nov. 22. Her phone was “pinged” to the Halsted Street Parking Garage and UIC Police and family members responded to find Ms. George unresponsive in the back seat of a vehicle owned by her family.

UIC Police then requested assistance from the FBI Evidence Response Team to assist in the processing of the crime scene and to complete forensics on the vehicle.

UIC Police retrieved video footage from existing University cameras of the offender who was seen walking behind Ms. George as she walked south from the 700 block of Halsted St. at 1:34 a.m. on Nov. 23. Ms. George entered the garage on foot at approximately 1:35 a.m., followed by the offender. The offender is seen again on video footage at 2:10 a.m. walking southbound on Halsted Street on the west side of the street.

UIC Police then reviewed video footage from the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago POD cameras and our own internal system to determine travel patterns for the offender.

Based on these observations, UIC Police detectives decided to watch the Blue line station during the hours that the offender had previously traveled on the Blue line.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2:00 a.m., UIC detectives observed a person matching the description of the offender near the Blue line train station at Halsted and Harrison streets. The offender was taken into custody and subsequently gave a full confession to this horrific crime at approximately 3:20 p.m. on the same day, Nov. 24.

We would like to thank the Cook County State’s Attorney office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Evidence Response Team, the Chicago Police Department’s Area Central Mission Team and 12th district, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Security Services Investigative Video Team, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Illinois State Police crime lab for their assistance.

Lastly, a special thanks to all the members of UIC Police department who supported the investigation or assisted with apprehending the individual and to bring closure to this tragic event.

Kevin Booker
UIC Chief of Police

Print Friendly, PDF & Email