A second Virginia Tech student has been arrested in connection with the death of a 13-year-old girl whose disappearance earlier this week from her Virginia home set off a frantic four-day search.
Blacksburg Police say Natalie M. Keepers, 19, is being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail on charges of improper disposal of a body and accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony. Keepers was arrested Sunday in connection with the death of Nicole Madison Lovell, who disappeared from her home Wednesday.
Lovell's body was found Saturday afternoon, when Virginia State Police located her remains in Surry County, North Carolina, just over the Virginia border. Hours later, police announced the arrest of another Virginia Tech student, 18-year-old David Eisenhauer, a freshman engineering major from Columbia, Maryland. He has been charged with first degree murder and abduction.
"Based on the evidence collected to date, investigators have determined that Eisenhauer and Nicole were acquainted prior to her disappearance. 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," Blacksburg police said in a statement.
Virginia Tech confirmed that Keepers, of Laurel, Maryland, is a sophomore engineering student at the school.
The Roanoke Times newspaper quoted to Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson as saying that Eisenhauer has not confessed to involvement in Lovell's death and did not give police information that led to the discovery of her body.
Police initially charged Eisenhauer with abduction; he was charged with murder once the girl's remains were found.
The girl had been missing since last week. Her family says she disappeared after pushing a dresser in front of her bedroom door and climbing out a window.
The newspaper cited an online biography of Eisenhauer that described him as a standout track and field athlete in high school. He was a three-time state champion in track and also competed in cross country, finishing second in the state both his junior and senior years. He was a first-team, all-state choice in cross country and a second-team All-Southeast Region selection, the biography stated.
Virginia Tech said on its website that Eisenhauer was a freshman engineering major at the school and that hundreds of students and researchers had assisted in the search for Lovell.
Virginia Tech president Tim Sands said the case left the school community "in a state of shock and sadness."
"Speaking on behalf of our community, let me say that our hearts go out to Nicole's family and friends," he said in a statement posted to the school's website.