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Students abroad arrest shocks friends
Updated: 2004-05-20 09:03

Former teachers and classmates of Luo Haiming said Wednesday they were shocked to learn the 25-year-old Shanghai native is being held by American police for allegedly killing a woman from Shanghai at a university in Louisiana.

Authorities in the Louisiana city of Lafayette are waiting for Luo to be escorted back to the city from New York State where police arrested him on Sunday.

Lafayette police say they hope to have Lou back Thursday.

He has been charged with the second-degree murder of Chen Ting, 24. Chen was found stabbed to death and wrapped in a comforter in Luo's dorm room last Friday.

Chen's friends reported the young woman was missing to university police last week. She wasn't found until dorm residents complained of an odor coming from Luo's room.

Police used Lou's financial records to track him as he drove through the states of Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio before catching up with him in Buffalo, New York on Sunday afternoon.

Lou reportedly told New York State police that he was on a sightseeing trip and wanted to see Niagara Falls, which is not far from Buffalo.

Police, however, said they believe Luo was heading for Canada when he was arrested about 40 kilometers from the boarder.

"It was unbelievable when others told me that Luo is a suspected murderer," said Sheila Chen, who sat beside Luo for a semester at Shanghai Weiyu Middle School. "I wasn't convinced until I saw his picture while surfing online," Chen said.

"In my impression, Luo is smart, funny and good-tempered. How could he kill a person," she added.

One of Luo's former teachers said she was stunned to read about the case. "It is so shocking since Luo was always a quiet and good student in my class," said Wu Hailan, Luo's grade- eight teacher at Weiyu. "While he was introverted and not social at that time and didn't have many friends, his academic performance was good and his parents are well educated people. Such a student shouldn't commit a horrible crime."

University officials say Chen lived across the hall from Lou. Police said the two were friends, but they don't know why Lou would want to kill Chen.

Students living in the dorm said the two were close, but not lovers as Chen had a fiance she planned to marry this summer.

Chen moved to the United States from Shanghai a year ago to study communications at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Chinese consular officials in Houston and Chen's family in Hubei Province are currently planning to travel to Lafayette.

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