Anat Kimchi, 31, was found stabbed in the back on South Wacker Drive.
"We suspect this likely is a homeless person that secreted himself in bushes, came out and committed this heinous crime," said Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown on Saturday night.
Chicago's financial district is a few blocks from the crime scene, but the area where Kimchi was killed is secluded and not the sort of place you'd find a lot of pedestrians. The stabbed occurred next to an area where homeless people camp.
"Anat was already a notably accomplished scholar, but more importantly she was a remarkable woman who was beloved by friends and family," wrote University of Maryland Professor Gary LaFree in an email sent to the campus community.