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Update: Cathy Qiu, Honor Student Found Dead on Beach, was Smart and Loved Tennis, Friends Say

The body found on a San Mateo County beach Sunday.

Updated at 12:50 a.m. Friday: 

Classmates of Cathy Qiu, the Albany High School student found dead on a San Mateo County beach Sunday, described her as highly intelligent, playful and always with a tennis racket.

"She was really smart...and she always had a tennis racket sticking out of her bag" said 17-year-old Albany High senior Treva Obbard, who shared an advanced math class with Qiu. Treva also spent the last four years in Spanish with Qiu, who was an honors student with a 4.35 grade point average.

Obbard said Qiu liked the television shows House and Smallville, and that she had a habit of punching holes in her notebook paper.

Many more students walking about during Albany High's open lunch hour said they didn't know Qiu personally. Some said they didn't know what to say about her death, given its mysterious nature.

Qiu's parent reported her missing on Sept. 27. Nearly a month later, her body washed up on a shore several counties away. Authorities are still awaiting toxicology and cause of death reports.

Updated at 5:15 p.m.:

Cathy Qiu could have run away from home nearly a month before being found dead on a San Mateo County shore Sunday.

The Richmond Police Department was investigating Qiu’s disappearance as a possible runaway case, said Richmond Police Lieutenant Bisa French. Richmond police received a report from Qiu's parents that the 16-year-old was missing on Sept. 27.

French said the death investigation has been turned over to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office. The cause of death is still unknown and authorities are awaiting toxicology results.

Qiu was an Albany High School senior and resident of Richmond. She was an honor student with a 4.25 GPA and a member of the tennis team.

Updated at 4 p.m.: Message from the Albany Unified School District:

"Albany Unified School District reports with great sadness that according to San Mateo County Coroner’s Office, Albany High School 12th grade student Cathy Qiu passed away.

"The cause of death is pending investigation and awaiting toxicology results. No further information is available at this time.

"Qiu was reported missing by her parents on September 27, 2012, and Albany High School administrators have been in ongoing contact with the family since that time. Qiu attended Albany Unified School District on an inter-district transfer since the 5th grade. She was an honor student with a 4.25 GPA and member of tennis team.

"Albany High School students will be informed on Friday, October 26th when mental health personnel will be available on site."

Updated 3:41 p.m.:

Authorities identified a body found on a San Mateo County beach Sunday as 16-year-old Cathy Qiu of Richmond.

An Albany High School student identified Qiu as a fellow classmate after seeing a report of the washed up body on television Wednesday night, NBC Bay Area reported.

The San Mateo County Coroner's Office said Thursday that the body's dental records matched Qui's.

The Richmond teen was dressed in jeans, black boots and a red top, and had pink braces on her teeth when a couple walking along the beach discovered her body last weekend.

-Jamie White contributed to this article.

*More to come on this story.

Catherine (Kate) Rauch October 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Sad. Upon sad. Upon sad.
Judy Ikeda October 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM
My family is completely devastated over the news of Cathy death. My daughter was a friend of hers and tried reach out and help her. But she would not confide in her what was truly going on with her family life. I'm overcome with grief as I type my comment! Rest in peace Cathy!
JJMarieKK October 26, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Oh not Cathy. Prayers for her family, friends, the school and our community.
April October 26, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I'm not good with words but... I have been on the Albany tennis team with Cathy for 3 years and have known her since elementary school. She has always been a very diligent student and has helped me countless times on my school work. I really miss her at our practices everyday, she was always so light hearted. I miss joking around with her and calling her Cathy bear. I can't help but cry every single time I think of her. I don't know the actual reasons for her runaway but I really hope her family is okay. Unfortunately this year hasn't been going too well. I hope Cathy's 16 years were great for her. Rest in peace Cathy bear. I miss you so much.
Lauren R. October 26, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I learned this devastating news earlier this evening at our tennis match. I would have played with her today. I never knew Cathy but her passing was just as devastating. My sincerest condolences go out to her family, and friends.
JJMarieKK October 26, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Which etree did the AUSD message go out to? We have not received it in our household.
Emilie Raguso October 26, 2012 at 04:01 AM
I received it via an RSS alert when it was posted on the district website at 4:44pm. I'm on all the etrees and didn't get it there.
michelle October 26, 2012 at 06:16 AM
RIP. You will be missed and remembered.
Laila Kearney (Editor) October 26, 2012 at 07:54 AM
Thank you for sharing your memories of Cathy.
Craig Westbrooke October 26, 2012 at 02:23 PM
knew something was up when I saw the KRON TV truck in front of the school in the dark... We never got any email or phone tree message...not sure we should have though. AUSD still has some fuzzy issues to deal with as to how much info to divulge and when or when not to do it.
Kristin Kilian Lobos October 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Albany has had more tragic new than one town could possibly try to understand. Is it possible there is a connection? Just think its strange that she was reported missing the same day as the arrest. Did she know the middle school teacher? Sending healing and love to the family,and our beloved town.
Ellen Hershey October 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Speculation like this fuels gossip and doesn't help our town deal with these sad events. Please show more restraint.
eddie October 26, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Kristin Kilian Lobos, the stupidest bullcrap i have ever heard, this isnt a scooby doo mystery, things dont add up like that . the teacher in question was innocent , this is just another sad thing to happen around this town .
Kristin Kilian Lobos October 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Okay if I could take it back I would. My mother has been a criminal defense investigator for 25 years. It is normal in my family to say such things. In the future I will keep it to myself.
Laila Kearney (Editor) October 26, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Please no bullying in comments. I get that these are sensitive issues we're discussing here, but let's be respectful of one another.
janet October 26, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Kristin Kilian Lobos, I think it's pretty natural to wonder about these things, especially considering the continued vacuum of information re the izumizaki case, and the fact that the victims of that case were albany high students. So incredibly sad for the family.
Ellen Hershey October 26, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Hi, Kristin, I apologize for my comment above. I reread what I wrote and realized that it sounded harsh. I'm the one who needs to show some restraint. Best wishes, Ellen
Jadeit Shokajin October 26, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Two deaths in a month .. and in albany too. perhaps this is more serious than what it seems to be. lets hope it ends here. best wishes to the both of them.
Sydney Ren October 26, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Albany, please understand that death happens every day, and no town is immune to it. Take the time to love the ones you know, and mourn the ones that have passed. RIP Cathy Qiu.
Paul O'Curry October 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Eddie's comment was not in accordance with your own standards at the Patch !!
Margaret Tong October 27, 2012 at 03:47 AM
two deaths in a month? Are there are no any folk in Albany who die in a month or every week or every day? You're making Albany sound a place to be proud of longevity
Karlamaria Guerrero October 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Cathy was my dearest friend and my tennis buddy. Everyday after working during the summer she would always call me if she wanted to play tennis. We would always work on our rally's and other stuff before tryouts began. She was funny, smart always a person to talk to. She would always help me on my homework and my sports medicine projects. I would always walk with her to the library with all my friends. Now she's gone and those good memories will be in my mind forever. I will never forget u kindness Cathy and the scarcasim jokes and Me talking to u in Spanish during practice just to mess with the teammates. I miss u Cathy so much it makes me tear up every time I think about u. RIP Cathy
A Roberts October 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Just curious - "Qiu was an Albany High School senior and resident of Richmond." I thought you had to live in Albany to attend Albany schools?
Dan Siegel December 31, 2012 at 10:19 PM
All districts accept some requested transfers. AUSD has a tradition of such to gain additional funding. If they get in trouble, they can kick them back out.

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