A 13-year-old Virginia girl whose body was found on the side of a road was stabbed to death, according to preliminary autopsy results. Two Virginia Tech students have been arrested in connection with her death.
Investigators believe the college freshman suspected of killing her, 18-year-old David Eisenhauer, was having an "inappropriate relationship" with Nicole Lovell, according to a local CBS News station. She may have been killed because she was about to expose it, said a source.
Lovell bragged to friends about her "older boyfriend." She showed off a snapshot of her mysterious beau to eight-year-old twins living next door and said she planned to meet him for a late-night rendezvous.
She met Eisenhauer through Kik, a popular social networking app for teens. The app has drawn scrutiny by law enforcement for its suspected link to sexual predation. A spokesman for Kik told CNN that it was cooperating with an FBI investigation into the case.
Since the murder, Kik Interactive Inc. requested Apple change its rating from age eight to age 12 and older due to infrequent, but mild and mature suggestive themes, sexual content and nudity.
Lovell was likely killed the day she disappeared on 27 January. She had shoved her dresser against her bedroom door and climbed out a window, apparently to meet Eisenhauer. Her parents immediately became alarmed because she needed daily medication due to a liver transplant. Her body was found 100 miles from her home.
Lovell was a lonely, sickly child who had a liver transplant as an infant and later battled Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and may have bee particularly vulnerable to the attentions of an "older man".
"She tried to live a normal life," said her mother, Tammy Weeks, who called her daughter "Coley" and clutched one of the girl's stuffed panda bear toys at a press conference. She loved pandas, music and dancing and dreamed of being on American Idol, according to her mother. "Lovell was a very lovable person," Weeks added.
Police from Blacksburg, Virginia, have officially released few details about the case but did say they have received hundreds of tips and gleaned information from social networking sites. Police said Eisenhauer and Lovell were acquainted before her disappearance, and that he "used this relationship to his advantage to abduct and then kill her".
Eisenhauer was arrested at his dorm at Virginia Tech and was charged with abduction and first-degree murder. Natalie Keepers, 19, has been charged with accessory before the fact to first-degree murder and helping dispose of Lovell's body. Eisenhauer and Keepers were both engineering students. They're being held without bail.
Eisenhauer reportedly said in a court appearance: "I believe the truth will set me free." If convicted he could face 20 years to life in prison.