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U of U identifies student killed in Salt Lake City motel

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Posted at 2:11 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 16:11:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah identified the 19-year-old killed Friday in a Salt Lake City motel as undergraduate student Zhifan Dong.

Dong was participating in the university's Utah Global program from Anyang, Henan, China. According to a statement from school president Taylor Randall, the program "helps immerse first-year international students in the academic and cultural life of the university."

Police found Dong unresponsive after they were called to the Quality Inn at 616 South 200 West early Friday. Despite emergency lifesaving efforts, she was pronounced deceased inside the motel room.

Haoyu Wang, 26, was arrested after saying he injected Dong with a "high dose of heroin with intent to kill her and relieve her suffering." Wang claimed the two had intended to commit suicide together.

University police alerted Salt Lake City police after being made aware of an email Wang allegedly sent saying that he had injected his girlfriend with drugs. Wang claimed that he and Dong were in a "romantic relationship."

Randall said that Dong's family will be traveling to Salt Lake City and that they will consult with them about "the most appropriate way to remember and honor Zhifan."

"We extend our support during this difficult time to all of our international students, particularly [Dong's] peers in the Utah Global program," said Randall.