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Victims of attack near German castle were University of Illinois graduates

Tourists attacked near castle in Germany, Naperville woman killed
Tourists attacked near castle in Germany, Naperville woman killed 02:09

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – The victims of an attack near a castle in Germany earlier this week which left one of them dead were both recent University of Illinois graduates.

Eva Liu, 21, and Kelsey Chang, 22, were traveling together when they were both attacked. We have learned Liu was from Naperville.

Eva Liu via LinkedIn

Police in the southeast German state of Bavaria confirmed to CBS News that a U.S. national was arrested in connection with the incident, and Stefan Rinke, the Mayor of Schwangau, in Bavaria, told local media that all three people involved were American.

The women were hiking near Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as the inspiration for the castle in Disney's movie "Cinderella," when they met a 30-year-old man who told them to follow him down a trail leading to a secret viewpoint.

When the two women followed him, the suspect attacked Liu, police spokesperson Holger Stabik said. Chang tried to intervene and the man choked her and pushed her down a steep slope. He then attempted to sexually assault Liu, Stabik said, before pushing her down the slope as well.

Both women fell approximately 165 feet.

Rescuers found the women and flew them to the hospital, where Liu died of her injuries. Chang survived the attack – and suffered minor injuries.

A 30-year-old American man was taken into custody. 

"The perpetrator at first moved away from the scene of the crime after the assault," Stabik told journalists on Thursday. "Whether this was a classic escape or not is not entirely known. In any case, he was then arrested a short time later by police officers on the basis of a witness tip in the immediate vicinity of the crime."  

A tourist from New York saw the arrest happen.

"His face was covered in deep red scratch marks, and his neck as well. There was really a struggle there," the tourist said, "and he just had a frown on his face. He didn't say anything. He had a sort of disturbed look."

Eric Abneri was visiting Neuschwanstein Castle from New York and captured video of the suspect being led away by police on his phone.

"His face was covered in deep red scratch marks and his neck as well," Abneri told CBS News on Thursday. "There was clearly a struggle there, and he just had a frown on his face. He didn't say anything. He had a sort of disturbed look."

CBS 2's Noel Brennan stopped by Liu's family's home in Naperville. No one there wanted to talk, but news of what to Liu has spread through that city.  

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin told CBS News on Thursday that it was "aware of an incident involving multiple individuals" but declined to provide further information citing "privacy considerations."  

The official said the embassy was communicating with German authorities on the matter.

CBS News' Anna Noryskiewicz in Berlin and Emmet Lyons in London contributed to this report.

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