Virginia prosecutor says teen was stabbed in case linked to university students

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What You Need to Know About the Virginia Tech Students Who Are Suspects in a Teen's Murder

(Reuters) - The 13-year-old girl whose abduction and murder have been tied to two Virginia Tech students appears to have been stabbed to death, a prosecutor said on Tuesday, citing a preliminary autopsy report.

Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg, Virginia, where the university is located, died on or about Jan. 27, the same day she went missing, Montgomery County prosecutor Mary Pettitt said at a news conference in Blacksburg.

READ EARLIER: 2nd Virginia Tech student charged in 13-year-old girl's deat

Lovell's remains were found about 90 miles away on Saturday in a heavily wooded, rural area in North Carolina, officials said.

See photos related to the case:

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Missing Virginia teen, 2 Virginia Tech students suspected, Nicole Lovell
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Virginia prosecutor says teen was stabbed in case linked to university students

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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Pettitt said Virginia Tech student Natalie Keepers, 19, who previously was accused of helping to dispose of Lovell's body, will now also face a charge of being an accessory before the fact of a first-degree murder.

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

That charge substantially increases the possible punishment Keepers might face to 20 years to life in prison.

A fellow student, David Eisenhauer, 18, is charged with first-degree murder and abduction and faces a maximum of life in prison. Police have said he took advantage of a prior connection with Lovell to kidnap and kill her.

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