BLACKSBURG, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Funeral arrangements have been made for Nicole Madison Lovell, the 13-year-old girl murdered in Blacksburg last week.
Visitation for Lovell will happen Wednesday, the day before her funeral.
Authorities said on Tuesday that Lovell was stabbed to death the same day she climbed out her bedroom window, by a Virginia Tech student who got help from a university classmate both before and after the crime.
David Eisenhauer, the engineering student accused of kidnapping and killing the seventh-grade girl, told officers who arrested him Saturday that he believes “the truth will set me free,” according to a police document.
Authorities revealed a few more facts on Tuesday, even as they chased more than 400 tips, trying to reconstruct exactly what happened after Nicole went missing last week.
Nicole’s body was found hidden off a North Carolina road, two hours south of campus. A preliminary report found the cause of death was stabbing, and that she died on Wednesday, the same day her mother discovered she was gone, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said.
Nicole used the Facebook social network and Kik, a chat software especially popular with young teens. A spokesman for Kik Interactive said the Ontario, Canada-based company had helped authorities after she disappeared.
“In this particular case, we were active in helping the FBI carry out their investigation,” spokesman Rod McLeod wrote to the Associated Press on Monday.
In another development, Pettitt said another promising engineering major at Virginia Tech, Natalie Keepers, will face an additional and more serious charge. Keepers is now accused of being an accessory “before the fact” to first-degree murder, in addition to earlier accusations of helping to dispose of the body. The new charge carries 20 years to life in prison, Pettitt said.
Nicole’s mother, Tammy Weeks, also spoke, describing the health problems her daughter battled and the joys in her short life.
“Her favorite color was blue. Nicole was a very lovable person. Nicole touched many people throughout her short life,” Weeks read from a statement. Her sobs then grew louder, until she was ushered away.
Nicole suffered from bullying at school and online over her weight and a tracheotomy scar, her mother has said. She also needed daily medication after a liver transplant, lymphoma and a drug-resistant bacterial infection she survived as a 5-year-old.
Weeks described her daughter as lovable, saying she touched many people in her 13 years.
Eisenhauer, 18, and Keepers, 19, said little at their initial court appearances, and their lawyers have declined to comment.
Blacksburg police said they have evidence showing Eisenhauer knew the girl before she disappeared Wednesday.
“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.
Keepers will likely be arraigned on the new charge during a 12:30 p.m. Wednesday bond hearing, according to the Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk’s office.
The arrests of the two ambitious and focused students shocked their acquaintances in Maryland, where they graduated from nearby high schools last year. Neither had prior criminal records, police said.
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, said Principal James LeMon at Wilde Lake High School.
“We had no reason to think he would be unsuccessful in his goals because he was very focused,” LeMon said.
Keepers interned at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, led science experiments at her church’s Bible school and hoped to build a future in aerospace or ocean engineering, her online resume said.
“It’s just very, very surprising,” said her principal, Marcia Leonard at Hammond High School.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.