Nicole Lovell has been found dead, the father of the missing 13-year-old girl announced Saturday night after a search that lasted nearly three days.
Lovell had last been seen in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Wednesday. The girl’s mother said she believed Nicole climbed out of a window sometime between midnight and 7 a.m. that day.
After thousands of law enforcement officials and volunteers searched for her, Lovell’s father announced her death on a Facebook post made Saturday evening.
“Devastated to learn that my daughter has been found dead!” he wrote. “I’m so in shock I know nothing more to say, I’m broken!”
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) January 31, 2016
Police said Lovell’s body was found near the border of Virginia and North Carolina.
BREAKING: Blacksburg Police confirm they found the remains of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell near the North Carolina border.
— News 5 WCYB (@news5wcyb) January 31, 2016
Authorities had been conducting a frantic search, as the 13-year-old was without prescription medicine needed to prevent organ failure after a liver transplant, WSHV reported. The murder came as a shock to the community, as many people locally had taken up efforts to help find Nicole.
The search expanded quickly in the days after Lovell was first reported missing, with police from six agencies joining the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team and 1,000 members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets to search for the girl.
Lovell’s perilous medical condition added extra urgency to the case, police said.
“It’s one of the darkest and worst things that you can deal with,” Lt. Mike Albert of the Blacksburg Police Department said on Thursday. “Nicole also requires medication daily for a medical condition. We know that we’re going on 36 plus hours without her having the medication.”
The news of Nicole Lovell’s death came just hours after police reported an arrest in the case.
“Lynchburg’s ABC affiliate, WSET, reports that a Virginia Tech freshman, David Eisenhauer, 18, of Columbia, Md. was arrested on a charge of felony abduction,” WSHV reported.
Eisenhauer was later charged with first-degree murder, police announced. They later said that he had some kind of acquaintance with the 13-year-old, and used that to abduct and kill her. They did not say what the nature of the relationship between the two was or how they may have met each other.
“Based on the evidence collected to date, investigators have determined that Eisenhauer and Nicole were acquainted prior to her disappearance,” police said in a Sunday statement. “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.”
After his arrest the university released a statement supporting Lovell’s family and offering whatever help it could.
“The entire Virginia Tech community extends its support to Nichole’s family and friends,” the statement read. ‘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.”
On Sunday, police announced a second arrest in the murder of Nicole Lovell (via WSLS):
Police announced at a 1PM news conference that they have arrested 19-year old Natalie Marie Keepers of Laurel, MD. She’s been charged with one felony count of improper disposal of a body. Keepers is a sophomore Engineering student at Virginia Tech. She was also charged with one misdemeanor of accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.
Police in Blackburg planned a press conference Saturday night for more information on how and where Nicole Lovell was found dead.
[Photo by Blackburn Police Department via AP Images]