Police scour for details in Utah student slaying

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Authorities are trying to figure out how a longtime criminal recently released from an Alabama prison ended up in a Utah canyon where he’s suspected of killing a 23-year-old devout Mormon immigrant from China.

ChenWei Guo came to the United States in 2012 and dreamed of opening a consulting firm. He was studying computer science in his first year at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Friends say the 23-year-old smiled easily, loved to dance and could be found trekking canyons around Salt Lake City, like the one where his body was found Monday night.

A 24-year-old ex-convict is suspected of shooting the student to death after demanding Guo’s car, according to Utah authorities.

He also fired at an unidentified woman who witnessed the slaying, police said in jail documents.

Police found Guo’s body still in his vehicle in a canyon just east of campus, prompting a campus-wide lockdown and a massive overnight manhunt at the school and in the rugged foothills nearby.

“It just seemed like the most senseless thing to do, take the life of such a great person,” said Steve Comrie, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation that included Guo.

Austin Boutain surrendered without incident Tuesday afternoon after a librarian spotted him at a city library several miles away, about 15 hours after Guo was found.

Boutain was booked on suspicion of aggravated murder, robbery and other charges.

Boutain has a rap sheet that includes drug, car theft and weapons charges in Minnesota and Alabama dating back to his days a juvenile. He was paroled in May after serving a year and a half in an Alabama prison for being a convicted sex offender and failing to report his whereabouts to police.

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