2 Virginia Tech students charged in death of 13-year-old girl

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Virginia Tech Student Charged In Death Of 13-Year-Old

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Jan 31 (Reuters) - Two Virginia Tech engineering students were in custody on Sunday, one charged with abducting and killing a 13-year-old girl and the other accused of helping to dispose of the teenager's body, police said.

The arrests came on Saturday after police, following a four-day search, found the remains of Nicole Lovell in North Carolina, about 90 miles (145 km) south of Blacksburg, Virginia, where her home and the university are located.

Lovell had been missing from her family's home since Wednesday. A family member told the Roanoke Times it appeared she had climbed out of a first-floor window.

Photos from the case:

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Missing Virginia teen, 2 Virginia Tech students suspected, Nicole Lovell
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2 Virginia Tech students charged in death of 13-year-old girl

Nicole Lovell

(Photo: Facebook)

A worker directs traffic in the parking lot of a Blacksburg, Virginia, funeral home on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. McCoy Funeral Home hosted visitation for 13-year-old Nicole Lovell, who authorities say was stabbed to death after she disappeared from her home. Her body was found in North Carolina, and two Virginia Tech students are charged in her death. (AP Photo/Skip Foreman)
Stacy Snider talks to a reporter outside her home in Blacksburg, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Snider's twin daughters say slain teen Nicole Lovell, a former neighbor, showed them a photo of an 18-year-old man named David on her phone, called him her "boyfriend."(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Tammy Weeks cries as she speaks to reporters in Blacksburg, Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Weeks says her 13-year-old daughter, Nicole Lovell, fought health problems all her life and had dreams of singing on "American Idol." (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Tammy Weeks holds one of her slain daughter's stuffed pandas during a news conference in Blacksburg, Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Weeks says her 13-year-old daughter, Nicole Lovell, fought health problems all her life and had dreams of singing on "American Idol." (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt pauses during a news conference about the slaying of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell in Blacksburg, Va. on Tuesday, Feb. 2. 2016. Pettitt said preliminary results show the girl was stabbed to death. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
This January 2016 photo provided by Blacksburg Police Department shows Virginia Tech student Natalie Keepers, who was arrested in connection with the death of Nicole Madison Lovell. (Blacksburg Police Department via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Blacksburg Police Department shows Virginia Tech student David Eisenhauer, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Madison Lovell. (Blacksburg Police Department via AP)
(Photo: Blacksburg Police Dept.)

Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson, center, speaks during a news conference Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Blacksburg Va. Virginia Tech student, David Eisenhauer, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Madison Lovell, whose remains were found in North Carolina. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt, left, and Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson listen to questions during a news conference Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Blacksburg Va. Virginia Tech student, David Eisenhauer, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Nicole Madison Lovell, whose remains were found in North Carolina. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

UPADATED TO REFLECT A SECOND ARREST: map locates Surry County, North Carolina, where a missing Virginia teenââ¬â¢s body was found; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
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It was not immediately clear how she crossed paths with David Eisenhauer, 18, a freshman from Columbia, Maryland, and member of the university's cross-county team.

But police in Blacksburg, about 40 miles (64 km) west of Roanoke, Virginia, said investigators had determined the two teens became acquainted before her disappearance. Eisenhauer took advantage of that relationship to abduct and kill Lovell, they said in a statement.

Police have not said how Lovell died.

Eisenhauer was arrested at his campus residence on Saturday, first charged with abduction and then accused of murder after Lovell's remains were discovered near a highway in Surry County, North Carolina.

A star Maryland high school athlete before coming to Virginia Tech, Eisenhauer was named the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier Indoor Track Athlete of the year, according to a 2015 profile in the Baltimore Sun.

Natalie Marie Keepers, 19, a sophomore at Virginia Tech from Laurel, Maryland, was arrested on Sunday and charged with improper disposal of a dead body and accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.

"I'm so in shock I know nothing more to say," the victim's father, David Lovell, said on Facebook. "I'm broken!"

Family members had pleaded for Nicole Lovell's return, saying she was without the prescription medicine she needed daily after undergoing a liver transplant.

Authorities said they were working to piece together the events leading to Lovell's death.

A Virginia Tech spokeswoman would not comment on the enrollment status of Eisenhauer and Keepers, but the university said in a statement it had the authority to suspend students immediately on an interim basis in the case of a felony arrest.

Hundreds of students in the university's Corps of Cadets, along with students and researchers using drones, assisted in the search for Lovell, the school said.

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