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SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student who police say injected his girlfriend with a fatal dose of drugs as part of a suicide pact was charged Friday with murder.
Haoyu Wang, 26, who is from China but attending the U., was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, in addition to two counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, a second-degree and third-degree felony.
Zhifan Dong, 19, of Anyan, China, who was also attending the university, was found unresponsive in a Salt Lake hotel on Feb. 11 after being injected with drugs purchased by her boyfriend off the dark web, according to police.
The investigation began earlier that day when Wang sent an email to a staff member at the U. stating that he and Dong "decided to use opioids to have a painless death. So I bought heroin and fentanyl on dark net," according to charging documents.
Wang further stated that after trying some of the drugs, Dong had trouble breathing and was vomiting before becoming unconscious for several hours, the charges state.
"Wang said that he didn’t want to see (her) suffer, so he injected her with a high dose of heroin," according to the charges.
University of Utah police pinged Dong’s phone and found she was at the Quality Inn, 616 S. 200 West. Salt Lake police were contacted to assist and went to the hotel to check up on the couple.
Hotel staff informed officers that Wang had checked in on Feb. 3 and was still a guest, according to the charges.
"Officers forced entry into Wang’s room after receiving no response to their knocking. They found Wang lying on the bed next to (Dong) who was deceased," the charges state.
Wang told Salt Lake City police that the couple "intended to commit suicide together," according to a police booking affidavit.
Prosecutors further noted in charging documents that Wang did not call 911 after Dong became unconscious because she "would have been hospitalized and not around to commit suicide." He said he injected her with more drugs "to relieve her suffering and cause her death," according to the charges.
The drugs found in the hotel room were tested by the Drug Enforcement Administration and determined to be fentanyl and ketamine.
Police also determined Wang had previously been arrested for investigation of domestic violence against Dong.
"The increase in criminal activity between January 2022 and February 2022 from assault to murder make him a substantial risk to the safety of others," prosecutors said in requesting that Wang be held in the Salt Lake County Jail without bail pending trial.
"This is a tragic case," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a prepared statement Friday. "Our office intends to do everything in our power to bring a measure of justice for the victim and their family."
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.