Naperville mourns the loss of a young woman shoved off a cliff in Germany

Eva Liu’s family is in Germany to collect her body and bring her home. Her friend and fellow recent college graduate was on her way home in downstate Illinois on Tuesday.

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Neuschwanstein Castle bridge Germany

A Michigan man is accused of throwing 21-year-old Eva Liu and 22-year-old Kelsey Chang from a cliff while they were hiking near Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany on June 14.

Associated Press

As family members of a Naperville woman who died after being shoved from a cliff in Germany traveled to retrieve her body, the father of another woman who was injured said Tuesday that she remains traumatized by the attack.

“She’s pretty damaged by the incident,” Weihan Chang of Normal told The Associated Press. “It’s life-changing.”

His daughter, Kelsey Chang, 22, survived the June 14 attack, which killed Eva Liu. The recent University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduates had been hiking near Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany.

Chang was released from a hospital Sunday and was on a plane bound for home Tuesday. Her father said he hadn’t had a chance to talk much with his daughter.

Meanwhile in Naperville, the community was mourning the loss of 21-year-old Liu.

She was remembered during services Sunday at her family’s church, Living Water Evangelical Church in Naperville, where Liu was a member of the congregation’s Overflow Youth Group.

“It’s a very tough situation,” said Mark Zhang, a pastor at the church. “Our words are powerless. We just mourn together with them and pray for them. When one family suffers, our whole church suffers.”

A formal prayer service and funeral arrangements are pending her father and twin sister’s return from Germany, another pastor, Barry Gin, told the Daily Herald.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said Tuesday evening that Liu “represented the best of our community.” He offered the city’s condolences to her family and called for a moment of silence at the start of a City Council meeting.

According to authorities, Liu and Chang were hiking near the castle when they encountered a 30-year-old Michigan man on the path. He lured them onto a trail leading to a viewpoint, according to police. At some point he attacked Liu. When Chang tried to help her, the man threw Chang off a cliff. She fell almost 165 feet.

The man then apparently tried to sexually assault Liu before throwing her off the cliff as well. Mountain rescue teams were able to reach the women, but Liu died in a hospital that night.

The Michigan man left the scene but was arrested nearby. A bystander said the man had scratches across his face but said nothing as police took him into custody.

The man is suspected of murder, attempted murder and a sexual offense, but prosecutors have said it may be three to four months before he’s charged.

At the University of Illinois, Liu earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and Chang, a degree in computer engineering. Liu and Chang were on a trip through Europe after their graduation last month. The pair also graduated together from the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora in 2019.

Members of the Naperville-based civic and business organization Chinese American Women in Action were mourning the loss of “a vibrant and promising young life that was so senselessly extinguished,” Nancy Chen, founding president, told the Daily Herald. She had organized a group to attend the council meeting to show support

“Eva Liu was our sister, daughter and granddaughter. Her death is deeply felt not only by her family, friends and neighbors, it touches all of us who can feel the pain of her parents and family,” Chen wrote on Facebook. “The Chinese American community in Naperville and elsewhere is shaken and saddened by the brutal murder of this young, bright woman.”

Contributing: Daily Herald

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