Man confesses in murder of U of I grad Eva Liu near castle in Germany

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Man confesses to attack that killed U of I grad near German castle
An American man admitted to charges of murder after being accused of pushing and killing Eva Liu, a Naperville native of the city and U of I graduate.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- American Troy Bohling confessed to rape and murder in the death of Eva Liu, a Naperville native and University of Illinois graduate near Neuschwanstein castle in Germany.

This case put investigators on a global path from Naperville to Europe as they tried figuring out why Liu was pushed over a cliff and killed.

Just as Bohling was about to go to trial in Germany, his legal team announced a stunning admission: Bohling did rape and kill Eva Liu, as charged, and push her over a 165-foot embankment. The unexpected confession came less than a year after Liu left Naperville and went to Germany to celebrate her recent graduation from U of I.

In a matter of moments, a magnificent and picturesque 19th century castle that is thought to have inspired storybooks and fairy tales became the backdrop for a horror story.

Last June, 31-year-old Bohling, from suburban Detroit, went on a deranged sex and shoving spree. On a hiking path, Bohling targeted two Illinois women who were traveling together in Germany to celebrate their new U of I degrees. As 21-year-old Liu, a former student at Naperville Central and the Illinois Math and Science Academy, was being assaulted by Bohling, her friend and U of I classmate, 22-year-old Kelsey Chang, tried to stop the attack. Chang, from Bloomington, was pushed into the 165 foot ravine. Liu was then also tossed down the steep wooded cliff.

Helicopters and ground rescue teams had a difficult mission that day. They recovered Liu's body. She didn't survive the gorge. Chang did.

RELATED: Naperville City Council remembers Eva Liu, woman killed in German castle attack

Bohling was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, rape and possession of child pornography. He shielded his face while being brought into a German court for trial on Monday.

As German justice officials were preparing to begin proceedings, Bohling's attorney said his client admitted to the crimes.

According to German officials, the court will now consider Bohling's confession. If convicted, they will also decide whether to extradite him to serve a sentence closer to his Michigan home.

An 11th hour confession is unusual but not unheard of. In 2019, downstate trial defendant, Brendt Christensen, did the same thing. Oddly, the case also involved a female victim connected to U of I. Christensen's last-second strategy and admission likely kept him from the executioner. He's now serving life without parole. Germany doesn't have the death penalty; but it may take until sentencing to determine Bohling's motivation for his late game confession.