Eliza Wasni
Eliza Wasni

Mystery of how 16-year-old girl became alleged Uber killer

IF YOU take a cursory look at Eliza Wasni's Facebook page, she appears like any other teenager.

Interspersed between selfies and pics with friends, she has posted memes and viral videos of adorable raccoons.

So how did this 16-year-old schoolkid end up found by police crouched behind an airconditioner in Chicago wearing only her bra and leggings, clutching a stolen machete in one hand and a bloodied knife in the other?

That's the question an Illinois court will examine later this month when she goes back before a judge accused of the random yet premeditated murder of her Uber driver, Grant Nelson.

Miss Wasni is alleged to have stolen the two weapons from a department store, called an Uber and then repeatedly hacked into the driver soon after he picked her up.

The case went before a court in Chicago for the first on Wednesday and, while prosecutors laid out a detailed timeline of how the shocking crime transpired, they offered no explanation about what may have driven the teenager to kill.

The alleged deadly mission of Eliza Wasni was carried out over three separate Uber trips during Tuesday's early hours.

The first trip on the ride-sharing service was to a train station at 1.25am. Next, she took a second ride with a different driver to the Skokie Walmart, 16km north of the Chicago CBD, where she picked up a machete and a knife.

Prosecutors described her walking calmly and "nonchalantly" through the store with the weapons in her hand. She left without paying or raising the suspicions of any staffers.

Grant Nelson, 34, had the immense misfortune to be the driver to accept her third and final Uber ride, picking her up outside the shop just after 3am.

He drove her a few blocks and right when his silver Hyundai Sonata sedan reached the intersection of Touhey and Lincoln avenues in the suburb of Lincolnwood, the inexplicable violence is believed to have begun.

"Only two minutes or so after picking up the defendant, she begins to hack at him and stab him from the back of the seat," assistant state's attorney Michelle Cunningham told reporters outside court on Wednesday.

Mr Nelson sustained multiple deep cuts to his arms, side, head and chest, all to the right side of his body.

In a panic, he swerved his car into the driveway of a nearby apartment block and ran to front door, banging and screaming "Help me! Help me! I'm going to die!".

Miss Wasni jumped in the driver's seat and drove off, but crashed into a median strip in Lincoln Ave.

Leaving the car running, she is alleged to have fled on foot.

Responding to 911 calls from the apartment's residents, police arrived at the scene to find the abandoned vehicle splattered with blood over the exterior and the driver's seat.

Mr Nelson's Uber app was still open on his phone, showing that his passenger was named Eliza.

They followed a path of blood from the driveway, to the apartment door, to the side of the building, where they discovered Mr Nelson lying on the grass in a pool of his own blood.

The victim described his attacker. Miss Wasni was discovered minutes later wearing only her bra and leggings, with the machete in one hand and a knife in the other.

When she refused to drop the weapons, police tasered her and took her into custody.

They later found the Chicago Cubs shirt she was wearing earlier stained with blood.

Mr Nelson was rushed to surgery but died shortly before 8 o'clock the same morning.

What drove this 16-year-old to carry out such a violent attack is still a mystery.

After her arrest, Miss Wasni declined to make a statement to police. When she appeared in court on Wednesday, she kept her eyes down only spoke once to confirm her name.

She attends Chicago's William Taft High School and lives with her single mother, the Chicago Tribune reports.

She is evidently an aspiring actor, having set up a page on a site that advertises would-be child performers.

Her Facebook bio says simply "I will always be myself".

The last time she posted was in February when she wrote, cryptically, "OK OK that just changed everything (sic)".

Among cheery pics with friends and a viral videos, some of her posts reveal a darker side.

In February, she shared a post from the page Sorrowful Quotes, saying "I wish I was someone's favourite person".

"That s*** jus hit me (sic)," she wrote as a caption.

In November 2016, she shared a Instagram quote saying "Wow, it's November. Time flies when your life is falling apart".

That same month, she shared a post from singer Ray J that read "Nobody gets me. I'm immature and mature at the same time. I'm a good but also deep and weird and romantic and my mind is so developed, I'm strange".

One month earlier, she reposted a meme depicting Homer Simpson with the thought bubble: "I have more conversations in my head than I do in real life."

Miss Wasni's alleged victim was a "an extraordinary figure", according to his sister Alexandra Nelson.

"He was a gentle soul, he was a good man, he was a wonderful lover of animals, classical music and opera, military history," she told reporters on Wednesday.

"The details were horrifying and saddening but beyond that we really do want to make sure that the due process of law is done well and done correctly so that ... justice is served in his name."

Prosecutors said Mr Nelson was a "random victim" in the "heinous" crime, and that he did nothing to provoke Miss Wasni.

Judge Michael Hood has ordered her to be jailed without bail - for what he called am "extremely violent" crime - until she next appears in court on June 21.

News Corp Australia

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