Two Virginia Tech students have been arrested in connection with the murder of a 13-year old girl, authorities reported Sunday.
The body of Nicole Madison Lovell, 13, was recovered near a highway on Saturday, days after she had vanished from her home.
Police in Blacksburg, Virginia, named the suspects as David E. Eisenhauer, 18, and Natalie M. Keepers, 19.
Both are Virginia Tech engineering students from the Washington area.
The 13 year old’s body had been found near Route 89, along the North Carolina-Virginia border in Surry County.
The body was subsequently transported to the office of the Roanoke chief medical officer for autopsy.
She had been missing since late Wednesday night, according to her family.
Tammy Weeks – mother of the victim – reported that a nightstand had been pushed up against the bedroom wall, and the window was ajar.
The family had gone public with calls for help amid concerns over her daily medication, which was required after a liver transplant.
Nicole’s father, David Lovell, said on Thursday, “I’m not mad at you. I’m worried about you. Your family’s worried about you. Just come home.”
David D. Eisenhauer, of Columbia, Maryland, was referred to as an “outstanding” athlete, one of Maryland’s top college cross country runners.
A fellow runner from Eisenhower’s Club in Howard County, Maryland said, “We’re all just in utter shock…we can’t get our heads around it.”
Eisenhauer had previously appeared in TV interviews taking about his desire to succeed in the field of athletics.
In a sporting profile run by the WMAR station of Baltimore, he said “I want to be the best…I will personally not stop until I reach my peak performance, which could be anywhere.”
Blacksburg police chief Anthony Wilson described the investigation as “extremely fast” but still ongoing, as officers now focus their searches on a pond at Virginia Tech campus.
Police say more evidence remains to be collected, and a timeline needs to be constructed.
It seems Eisenhauer met Lovell online, and that the pair knew each other before the disappearance.
Police said on Sunday, “Eisenhauer used this relationship to his advantage to abduct the 13-year-old and then kill her. [Natalie] Keepers helped Eisenhauer dispose of Nicole’s body.”