SURRY COUNTY, NC --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.
State police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said Sunday that a search and recovery team is searching a pond on the Virginia Tech Campus. She would not say what officials were trying to find.
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.
Lovell's family said she pushed a dresser in front of her bedroom door and climbed out a window Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Police are working with the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, the FBI office in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office to gather more information, according to Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. He said Lovell's body was to be taken to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke.
"This has been an extremely fast-paced investigation in just the past 12 hours," Wilson said at a news conference late Saturday.
The Roanoke Times reports Lovell's remains were found near U.S. 89. Lovell's exact cause of death was not determined.
The Times newspaper quoted 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. No information was given on how Lovell and Eisenhauer had initially made contact with each other.
According to the Times, Eisenhauer was arrested Thursday morning in connection with Lovell's disappearance and charged with abduction. Once her remains were found, he was charged with first-degree murder.
Virginia Tech police released the following statement:
The entire Virginia Tech community extends its support to Nichole's family and friends. The university is also reaching out to our campus community and the greater New River Valley community who may be affected by the events that have occurred over the past several days.
According to Virginia Tech police, Eisenhauer is from Columbia, Maryland, and is a freshman majoring in engineering. Virginia Tech confirmed that Keepers, of Laurel, Maryland, is a sophomore engineering student at the school.
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