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2 American tourists attacked in Germany are identified as recent college graduates from Illinois

<i>Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/AP</i><br/>A view of the Pollat Gorge with the Neuschwanstein Castle
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/AP
A view of the Pollat Gorge with the Neuschwanstein Castle

By Andy Rose, CNN

(CNN) — Two American tourists who police say were attacked – one fatally – while hiking in Germany were identified as recent graduates of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, according to the school.

Eva Liu, 21, was allegedly attacked by a 30-year-old American man she had met while hiking near one of Germany’s most popular tourist sights, Neuschwanstein Castle, on Wednesday, according to Bavarian authorities.

A friend who was with her, Kelsey Chang, 22, attempted to rescue Liu but was pushed down a steep slope. Investigators say the man then attempted to commit a “sexual offense” on Liu before he pushed her down the slope too, causing her to fall about 50 meters below her friend.

Both women were rescued by emergency responders and taken to two separate hospitals. Chang survived, but Liu later died.

Neither woman previously knew the alleged attacker, an American whose name has not been released, police say. The man had persuaded the two young women to follow him down a hidden trail leading to a viewpoint before attacking, according to police.

After fleeing the scene, he is now in police custody on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and attempted sexual offense, according to authorities.

“Our University of Illinois family is mourning the senseless death of Ms. Liu and the attack on Ms. Chang,” said Robin Kaler, associate chancellor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “Both had just graduated in May and should have been able to celebrate such an important accomplishment without the fear of such a tragic outcome.”

Liu and Chang had both attended high school at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a residential school in Aurora, the school said in a statement.

“Eva was a dedicated, academically talented and involved student,” said spokesperson Tami J. Armstrong.

“On behalf of our administration, faculty and staff, we are saddened by this loss and we grieve for and with her family and loved ones,” Armstrong added. “The loss of any student, particularly in such a tragic way, deeply hurts us all. We wish Kelsey well in her recovery.”

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Germany told CNN Thursday that the embassy is “aware of an incident involving multiple individuals in Germany” without confirming their nationalities.

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