Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Va. Tech Students Held in 13-Year-Old Girl's Death ; Engineering Majors Charged with Kidnapping, Murder of Seventh- Grader

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Va. Tech Students Held in 13-Year-Old Girl's Death ; Engineering Majors Charged with Kidnapping, Murder of Seventh- Grader

Article excerpt

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Two Virginia Tech students who had bright futures appeared before a judge Monday in the death of a seventh- grade girl who was active on social media and apparently climbed out her bedroom window. Nicole Madison Lovell, 13, was described as "an awesome little girl" who had a tough life - she survived a liver transplant as a youngster and suffered from bullying at middle school and online, her mother said.

Police found her body on Saturday, four days after she disappeared. David Eisenhauer, 18, is charged with her kidnapping and first-degree murder. Natalie Keepers, 19, is charged with improper disposal of a body and accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.

Police in Blacksburg, Va., said they have evidence showing Eisenhauer knew the girl before she disappeared, but have not released any details about what led up to her death.

"Eisenhauer used this relationship to his advantage to abduct the 13-year-old and then kill her. Keepers helped Eisenhauer dispose of Nicole's body, a police statement said.

Eisenhauer's hearing happened ahead of schedule and out of sight of reporters on Monday. Keepers appeared later, handcuffed and shackled in an orange jumpsuit. She told Judge Robert Viar Jr. she understands the charges. Both have lawyers; neither one commented.

The arrests of the two freshman engineering majors shocked people who knew them in high school, where they lived nearby each other in Maryland. Neither had prior criminal records, police said.

"We had no reason to think he would be unsuccessful in his goals, because he was very focused, said Principal James LeMon at Wylde Lake High School, where Eisenhauer graduated last year.

Eisenhauer, named Boys Indoor Track Performer of the Year by The Baltimore Sun last March, chose Virginia Tech to pursue engineering while competing with the Hokies' top college runners, LeMon said. …

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