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

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.

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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

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(Photo: Blacksburg Police Dept.)

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)


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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