Aug. 18, 2004

Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

University community mourns murder of graduate student in Overland Park

LAWRENCE--The University of Kansas community is mourning the murder of a Lenexa graduate student yesterday in a home in Johnson County.

Teri Lea Mathis Zenner, a 26-year-old graduate student in the School of Social Welfare, was killed late yesterday. Her 27th birthday would have been tomorrow.

"This horrible news is heartbreaking to us all. We are shocked and saddened at the loss of such a bright and promising young woman," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "On behalf of the entire university community, I offer Teri's husband and her family our deepest condolences and every available assistance."

Zenner, an Olathe native who earned a bachelor's degree in 1999 at Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, enrolled at KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park in the fall of 2002 and expected to earn her master's degree in social welfare in 2005. She was an employee at Johnson County Mental Health Center.

"We are horrified and deeply saddened by Teri's brutal murder," said Ann Weick, dean of the School of Social Welfare. "She was an excellent student with a passionate commitment to working with young people who struggle with severe and persistent mental illness. Though her life was tragically shortened, she had already made a significant difference in the lives of many individuals.  Our heart goes out to her family, friends, classmates and co-workers."

The school is offering grief counseling services to its students, faculty and staff.

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