BLACKSBURG, Va. — Two Virginia Tech students have been arrested after a missing 13-year-old girl was found dead in Surry County.
Blacksburg police said 18-year-old David E. Eisenhauer and 19-year-old Natalie Marie Keepers have been charged in connection to the death of 13-year-old Nicole Madison Lovell.
Investigators believe Eisenhauer was acquainted with the victim and he used that relationship to his advantage to abduct and kill her. Keepers is accused of helping him dispose of the body.
Eisenhauer was charged with murder Saturday night after the remains of Lovell, who disappeared from her home, were found near Route 89 in Surry County, authorities said.
Keepers, of Laurel, Md., was arrested Sunday morning and charged with improper disposal of a body and misdemeanor accessory after the fact in a commission of a felony. Both suspects are being held without bond in a jail in Montgomery County, Virginia.
Lovell was last seen between 7 p.m. and midnight Wednesday at her home in Blacksburg, Virginia, police said.
The family found a dresser pushed against her bedroom door and said the middle-school student probably climbed out the apartment window, according to the Roanoke Times.
The family was extremely worried because Lovell required daily prescription medication for a liver transplant and didn’t carry the medicine with her, according to police in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The search ended Saturday afternoon when her body was found about 100 miles away from home, Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson said.
Freshman engineering major arrested
“We were able to determine an approximate area where she might be found,” he said. “Virginia State Police were dispatched to the general area Saturday afternoon and she was located just inside the North Carolina border on Route 89 in Surry County.”
Eisenhauer, 18, of Columbia, Maryland, was already in custody. He was arrested Saturday morning at his residence on campus and charged with felony abduction, police said. Police said they acted on tips and social media to identify him.
After the remains were found, he was charged with murder.
The victim's remains arrived early Sunday morning at the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke, Va., for autopsy and examination.
“The speed at which this investigation has moved today has been nothing less than incredible,” Wilson said. “We owe that to the outpouring of support and tips from the Blacksburg, Christansburg and Montgomery County communities.”
Eisenhauer is a freshman engineering major and has been a member of the Virginia Tech cross country team, the Roanoke Times reported. The university said he’s been suspended.
Police didn’t give a motive or say how Lovell died. The investigation is ongoing.
‘Very wounded folks’
Lovell’s disappearance had gripped the picturesque town of about 40,000 people, where the university is located.
“I’m scared to death,” her father, David Lovell, told WDBJ before she was found.
Police, the family and members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets searched for the girl, according to a statement from the school. Wilson said Lovell’s body will be returned for an autopsy and authorities will work to reconstruct a timeline leading up to her death.
The university said it is reaching out to those affected by the tragedy.
“As a father, as well as Virginia Tech’s president, I want to reassure you that our community is supportive and resilient,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said in an open letter. “Lean on that support and the resources available to you. It is normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed at a time such as this. You are not alone.”
The police chief said the Blacksburg community is reeling from the girl’s death.
“We have some very wounded folks in this community and and please show them some respect,” Wilson said. “We will continue to be very transparent with you during this investigation but please remember these are the kinds of crimes that rip communities apart.”
CNN contributed to this report.