TUCSON, Ariz. – Briefly, they were 18-year-old freshmen sharing two things: their Navajo heritage and a University of Arizona dormitory room.
But less than three weeks after school started, something went terribly wrong between Mia Henderson and her roommate, Galareka Harrison.
On Wednesday, days after Henderson filed a police report accusing her roommate of stealing, a fight broke out between the two, and Henderson was stabbed to death, authorities said. Harrison was jailed on suspicion of murder.
"You wonder what could provoke them to be so aggressive toward another girl because you never think that girls are going to act so violently," said Holly Polk, a student from Elkhorn, Wis., who lives in the dorm where the fight occurred.
Police would not say what Harrison had been accused of stealing, and would not release the police report her roommate filed on Aug. 28.
But Lee Ann Dejolie, a Northern Arizona University student who described herself as a close friend of Henderson's, said Henderson had complained earlier this week that her roommate had been going through her purse and taking things.
"So Mia was really ticked off," Dejolie said.
Both young women were enrolled in a special program designed to help American Indians adapt to college life.
About 200 people, including members of Henderson's former softball team at Tuba City High School on the Navajo reservation, went to the school's athletic field Wednesday night to remember her.
"It's just tragic because the people in Tuba City know her really well, and Mia was a good kid," said Hope MacDonald-Lonetree, a Navajo council delegate who represents Tuba City and grew up with the young woman's mother. "She was known as a high-achiever; she was very congenial. She was not known to be in any kind of conflict or anything like that. She was just a good kid."
When Henderson filed the police report, she told police that she would not stay in her dormitory room until either Harrison or she was moved, Police Chief Anthony Daykin said. Daykin said the roommate had also been named as a possible suspect in a theft report filed by another student in the dorm.
The next day, Henderson declined an offer of different housing, Daykin said. The chief said Wednesday that he did not know when Henderson had returned to the dorm room or what had triggered their fight.
But students called police shortly before 6 a.m. after hearing screams, and officers found both young women injured. Both were taken to a hospital, where Henderson was pronounced dead.
Investigators would not say what kind of weapon was used.
It was not immediately known whether Harrison had lawyer. She denied all requests for interviews, a jail spokesman said.
Harrison was not listed in the university's Web phone directory, and attempts to locate her family members were unsuccessful.