(Photo: Facebook/InterVarsity at Illinois)
The InterVarsity chapter at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is coping with grief after one of their own members was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend last Friday in her off-campus apartment.
Mengchen Huang, 25, was part of the college campus ministry while studying at the university on a student visa from China.
"Mengchen was involved in a weekly small group meeting with other international students. She was a regular attender with quite a few friends. The students have had several gatherings to pray and process their grief, including meetings with local pastors," said Gordon Govier, InterVarsity media relations spokesperson.
According to the Urbana Police Department, Huang's ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Yongfei Ci, forced his way into her apartment and detained Huang's roommate, Xue Yang, whom he tied up and locked in the bathroom while Huang remained inside.
Ci, who also studies at the University of Illinois, reportedly traveled from Rhode Island, where he was enrolled in a temporary course at Brown University, to Urbana, Ill., to confront Huang on suspicion that she was cheating on him.
After an unreported length of time, Ci left the apartment prompting Yang to escape unharmed to seek help. Police were then able to track the suspect using cell phone technology and detained him on $10 million bond on a preliminary charge of murder.
In court Saturday, Assistant Champaign County State's Attorney Tim Sullivan recounted Yang's testimony to the judge saying that all she knew about Ci prior to the homicide incident was that Huang "feared" him because of their estranged and troubled relationship's past, reported the News Gazette.
Huang had recently graduated in May earning a master's degree in art history and was pursuing a doctorate degree. She was known to be involved with the International Christian Fellowship chapter that exists on campus to build friendships with international students, scholars and their families. The chapter also holds family group Bible studies, family reunion worship gatherings and social events.
According to police, the case is still under investigation, but for now Govier says a small funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5, and a larger memorial service for the campus community will be announced at a later date.