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Police probe killing of Binghamton University nursing student

Last Updated Mar 12, 2018 2:09 PM EDT

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Authorities in upstate New York are investigating the death of a Binghamton University nursing student. Police say that 22-year-old Haley Anderson, of Westbury, Long Island, was found dead at an off-campus residence on Friday. Her death was later ruled a homicide.

Police say a male nursing student at the university who had a previous relationship with the victim is a person of interest. They say the male student had left the country on an international flight before the victim's body was found.

Police have since identified the person of interest as Orlando Tercero, 22, reports CBS affiliate WBNG. He is reportedly believed to be in his native Nicaragua. 

Police on Saturday did not reveal the cause of death. Binghamton police officers found the senior's body during a welfare check.

The university's Facebook page offered condolences to the victim's family and friends. It said counseling would be available and there was no threat to public safety.

CBS New York reports that Anderson grew up on Long Island. John Doran of Westbury said his former neighbor was a compassionate, charismatic young woman who was just getting her start as a health professional.

"When I realized it was her, the bottom fell out. I'm very upset," Doran said.

 "It's so terrible and my heart bleeds for the family," Westbury resident Tracey Florio said.

Anderson's mother and younger sister live in Westbury. Their home became crowded with supportive neighbors, friends and relatives on Sunday.

CBS New York was told family members were too distraught to talk about their loss, and the mysteries surrounding it.

"It's hard to understand, you know?" neighbor Marie Pascarella said.

"Your kid goes away, you're expecting them to do something good and then you hear something like that. It's scary," neighbor Dana Brown added.

Before going off to college Anderson worked at a shop walking distance from her home, selling Italian ices and ice cream. Her younger sister also worked at the establishment.

Emma Derbin is a longtime friend. She said she met Anderson when she started working at the shop.

"This is not an easy loss at all," Derbin said. "She was literally like the greatest person ever. She never didn't have a smile on her face."

"This year she did an internship at a hospital here on Long Island and she told me about all the operations that she witnessed. (It's a) tragic loss," Doran added.

For many in Westbury, not knowing the how or the why of this homicide case haunts them. And they want whoever is responsible for Anderson's death to be identified and brought to justice.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Binghamton Police Detective Division at 607-772-7080 or 607-772-7082.