She had “several very large lacerations to the back of her head and neck,” according to a police warrant.
Cobb police were called for a "welfare check" — when a concerned person asks officers to check up on someone — to her apartment on Willington Shoals Place behind the Cumberland Square North on Sept. 18, 2017.
Prosecutors said police found her body wrapped in a blanket and “partially buried underneath a mound of spices and other items.”
Li had earned a master’s degree from Georgia Tech the year before.
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“By all accounts, Shuyi Li was a remarkable young woman,” prosecutors said. “Her loss deeply impacted not only her family members, but members of the community who knew her,” said prosecutor Jesse Evans.
Li had last been seen alive two days earlier. Police said neither her 2015 Honda CR-V nor her credit cards were at her apartment.
Investigators tracked her credit cards and determined that Semrinec had been using them and driving her vehicle.
He made his way to a VA Hospital in Dallas, Texas, several days later and told a security guard there that he had killed his girlfriend, prosecutors said.
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Semrinec told the court Tuesday that he served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, according to a news release. The defense requested a psychological evaluation, prosecutors said, that showed no competency issues.
Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole ordered that Semrinec would be eligible for parole after 30 years in prison.
“I don’t understand why someone would take the life of a young woman under any circumstance; I just don’t understand it,” Poole said, according to the news release. “But good luck to you.”
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Authorities said Brian Semrinec is believed to be driving a white 2015 Honda CRV with Georgia tag CDD3152.