Friday, 22 February, 2019

Charges upgraded against Virginia Tech student in teen's death

REUTERS  Montgomery County Sheriff's Office  Handout via Reuters Thomson Reuters Natalie Marie Keepers
Melissa Porter | 05 February, 2016, 11:01

Stacy Snider, a neighbor of the family, said Nicole and her mother had a great relationship. "I will not jeopardize the many hours of work these officers have done for Nicole".

Nicole disappeared early on January 27, spurring an extensive search that led to the discovery of her body three days later in a wooded area in North Carolina.

Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt revealed that a "preliminary determination of the cause of death is stabbing".

Pettitt said Virginia Tech student Natalie Keepers, 19, who previously was accused of helping to dispose of Lovell's body, will now also face a charge of being an accessory before the fact of a first-degree murder.

It was not clear how she crossed paths with David Eisenhauer, 18, a freshman at Virginia Tech.

Attorneys for the two did not respond to requests for comment.

Nicole Lovell's killing may have been planned between January 4 and January 27, 3 weeks before the actual murder. He's charged with 1st degree murder and abduction. Still, authorities managed to piece things together after sorting through social media, exploring 300-plus tips and searching for other information pertinent to the case.

Snider said she told law enforcement about the Kik messages.

Investigators have released no details about what happened to 13-year-old Nicole Madison Lovell after she climbed out of her bedroom window last week.

Later that day, Virginia State Police locate the remains of Nicole about 80 miles south of her home.

Her fate devastated her mother, Tammy Weeks, who spoke at a Tuesday news conference, describing the health problems her daughter battled and the joys in her short life.

"Her favorite color was blue". She loved to sing and dance, and aspired to someday compete on "American Idol".

Lovell had been missing from her family's home since Wednesday.

Vance said that she saw Nicole in the hallways.

First, there was a rare tumor in her liver that was diagnosed as a baby.

The prosecutor did not explain why the change was being made or give a motive for the slaying. But police said the two became acquainted before her disappearance.

"We had no reason to think he would be unsuccessful in his goals because he was much focused", said Principal James LeMon at Wilde Lake High School, where Eisenhauer graduated past year. "Nicole touched many people throughout her short life".

At that point, a trembling, sobbing Weeks abruptly left the press podium and the room. As Weeks read her statement, she cried and was unable to finish.

A man finished her statement, saying, "Our hearts still ache in sadness".

"We knew there were some issues at one time with her on these sites and we addressed them and I guess we didn't do enough", her father, David Lovell, told CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

The high-profile case has cast a spotlight on the university the suspects attended, which dominates life in Blacksburg.

Nicole Madison Lovell - boasting of an older "boyfriend" she planned to meet for a late night rendezvous - showed off a snapshot of her mysterious beau to a pair of 8-year-old neighbors.

Students on campus Tuesday repeatedly told CNN the situation was sad but declined to talk about the case.

Medical experts and physicians told Weeks that her daughter had a one per cent chance of survival, but Weeks said "Coley once again beat the odds". But classmates still tormented her through social media.

Many students are shaken, sophomore Hanna Humphreys said.

A slain 13-year-old Virginia girl spilled a secret before she vanished. "I can't do it". And that's probably what got her in trouble, Snider said. Authorities say Keepers helped dispose of her body.

Shortly before Nicole vanished a week ago, the seventh-grader showed her twins a picture of David Eisenhauer along with a thread of texts they had shared, Snider said. They just don't represent us. "But we didn't know nothing about it until she came up missing, unfortunately", she said.