Dunster Murder-Suicide Remembered

Some House Residents Apprehensive; Dean Sends Letter About Facts, Advising

Police could not be reached last week to determine whether the note was sent by Tadesse.

After the May incident, friends and neighbors described both students as calm and studious.

They were both foreign-born--Tadesse in Ethiopia and Ho in Vietnam. Both were 20 years old, concentrated in biology and wanted to become doctors.

On the surface, their roommate relationship appeared untroubled. Their sophomore year coming into Dunster, both were "floaters."

Tadesse's actions surprised one Dunster resident who knew her.


"It would come as less of a surprise to me if [Tadesse] just committed suicide, because since she was always so quiet I could see how she could be depressed," said Nan Zheng '96, who met Tadesse during first-year orientation week and occasionally ate lunch and dinner with her over the past three years.

"But to hurt somebody else is what I cannot imagine her doing. I guess she just couldn't take it anymore," said Zheng, who is a Crimson editor.

At the International Community School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Tadesse attended high school, she was known as a stellar student. She was president of the student government and on the staff of the yearbook.

Based on her academic record and financial need, Tadesse received a full scholarship to Harvard.

Tadesse did not participate in many extracurricular activities at Harvard, preferring instead to concentrate on her studies. She did, however, join the Harvard African Students Association as a first-year.

Ho too succeeded at a-young age. As a boat refugee 10 years ago from Vietnam, she settled in Dorchester with her father and older sister. She was reunited with her mother and younger sister two years ago.

Ho attended the Boston Technical High School, where she became the valedictorian of her senior class and was voted most likely to succeed. She was the only graduate in her public high school class to attend Harvard, friends said.

In 1994, Ho served as vice president of the Harvard Vietnamese Association. One friend said Ho devoted herself to the organization.

"Sometimes when they were organizing events, she would not sleep. She would be so self-deprived just for the events," the friend remembered. "She was so worn down, but she continued doing it for the club."

On the morning of the murder, stunned and appalled Dunster residents--most of whom had never spoken with the quiet Tadesse and Ho--crowded the courtyard.