Local police have released the names of the victims of a vicious attack on two young female tourists who were visiting the “Cinderella Castle” in Germany.
On Wednesday afternoon last week, two female American tourists, ages 21 and 22, were allegedly lured down a hiking path near the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany–a fairytale-like structure from which Disney World’s Cinderella Castle reportedly derived its inspiration–by a man who promised the women a spectacular view from a location near the pedestrian bridge at the famous tourist locale. Bavarian police say the alleged attacker is also an American.
Once the women were on the hiking trail with the American man, police say the man attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old female tourist. When her friend intervened, the man reportedly choked her and pushed her down a steep slope into the gorge below before attempting to molest the 21-year-old American woman again. Then the man allegedly pushed the woman down the slope as well.
A mountain rescue team arrived following the alleged attack, and responders were able to reach both of the female victims. Members of the rescue team said the 22-year-old was “responsive” when they reached her, and she was taken to a nearby hospital. The 21-year-old woman was air flighted via helicopter to a different hospital with serious injuries and succumbed to her injuries in the hospital hours later.
The alleged attacker initially fled the scene, but after a huge police effort that involved 25 different emergency vehicles, the suspect was apprehended and arrested. A bystander captured the attacker’s arrest and shared the video online.
At Neuschwanstein, there was a rescue of multiple people from a helicopter and one was taken out in handcuffs, seemingly after they fell from a cliff and climbed over railings. pic.twitter.com/yVGqqSRlwX— Eric Abneri (@thefrownyface) June 14, 2023
Both of the women had been staying in a hotel in Munich–the same one in which the American male attacker was staying. According to The Daily Mail, all three arrived on the same bus that delivered tourists to Neuschwanstein Castle that day.
The women, who have been identified as Eva Liu, age 21, and her friend Kelsey Change, age 22, were on vacation together following their recent graduation from the University of Illinois. Liu studied computer science, and Change studied computer engineering at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the university.
“Our University of Illinois family is mourning the senseless death of Ms. Liu and the attack on Ms. Chang,” reads a statement from Associate Chancellor Robin Kaler in response to the attacks. “Both had just graduated in May and should have been able to celebrate such an important accomplishment without the fear of such a tragic outcome,” the statement added. “Our thoughts are with Ms. Chang as she recovers and with both of their families as they grieve.”
The male suspect appeared before a judge in the nearby town of Kempten the day after the attacks and was ordered to be held in jail. He is currently under investigation on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, and sexual offense, according to German police, but it’s not clear at this time whether prosecutors have formally charged the suspect.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century palace that sits atop a rugged hill in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps in the Swabia region of Bavaria in southern Germany. During peak tourist seasons, the castle welcomes as many as 6,000 visitors per day. The castle is known for being the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney’s feature-length animated film Cinderella (1950), as well as for the iconic Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.