Details remain scarce in death of Virginia 13-year-old

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers were promising engineering students at Virginia Tech, described by those who knew them as ambitious and focused.

See Full Article

Nicole Madison Lovell was an energetic 13-year-old who bore emotional and physical wounds, suffering from bullying over the scars from her liver transplant. How their lives intersected in tragedy remains a mystery.

Investigators have released no details about what happened to Nicole after she climbed out her bedroom window last week, including how, when or where she was killed. Neither have they announced what connected her to a college freshman five years older, or how Keepers allegedly got involved in hiding her body.

Eisenhauer, 18, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Lovell, whose body was found by police Saturday just across the state line in Surry County, North Carolina. Keepers, 19, is charged with improper disposal of a body and accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.

The students made their initial court appearances Monday. They said little, and their lawyers have declined to comment.

Blacksburg police said they have evidence showing Eisenhauer knew the girl before she disappeared Wednesday but have not elaborated.

"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.

The arrests of the two engineering majors shocked people who knew them in high school in Maryland, where they lived near each other. Neither had prior criminal records, police said.

"We had no reason to think he would be unsuccessful in his goals because he was very focused," said Principal James LeMon at Wilde Lake High School, where Eisenhauer graduated last year.

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, 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.

Nicole was just 5 years old when she survived a liver transplant, MRSA (a drug-resistant bacterial infection) and lymphoma, her mother, Tammy Weeks, told The Washington Post (

"God got her through all that, and she fought through all that, and he took her life," Weeks said.

Nicole didn't like going to school because girls called her fat and talked about her transplant scars. "It got so bad I wouldn't send her," Weeks said, but the bullying continued on social media.

Davy Draper, a close family friend, called Nicole an energetic and outspoken girl who got along with everyone.

"She was an awesome little girl. She was an angel here on Earth, and she's an angel now," Draper said Sunday.

Nicole's classmates were grieving Monday at Blacksburg Middle School, where 10 counselors were brought in to support them, Montgomery County schools spokeswoman Brenda Drake said.

Drake said privacy laws prevent her from commenting on Nicole's experience, but she said the school has anti-bullying and Internet safety programs.

On the Virginia Tech campus, state police divers searched a pond but authorities would not say what they were looking for.

Abbey Workmeister lives in the same dormitory as Eisenhauer - Ambler Johnston Hall, the co-ed residence hall where the first two people were killed in the 2007 campus massacre that left 32 dead.

"From what we've heard, he really stayed in his room a lot," Workmeister, a freshman biochemistry major from Cumberland, Maryland, said of Eisenhauer.

Logan Fry, a sophomore hospitality major from Roanoke who lives on the same floor as Eisenhauer and also ran track in high school, said Nicole's death and the arrest of a dorm neighbor was frightening.

"Like, it definitely could have been me," she said.

A number listed for Eisenhauer's parents in Columbia, Maryland, rang busy. A message left at Keepers' home in Laurel, Maryland, was not returned.

Associated Press writers Juliet Linderman in Maryland, and Larry O'Dell and Alanna Durkin Richer in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report


Latest Canada & World News

  • Pope Francis’ top financial adviser, cardinal questioned over sex allegations

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — Australian police flew to Rome to interview a top Vatican cardinal about allegations of sexual assault dating back decades, officials said Wednesday. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and one of his most trusted aides, has long been dogged by allegations he mishandled cases of clergy abuse when he was archbishop of Melbourne and later Sydney. Source
  • L.A. man with arsenal charged with making threats to Islamic centre

    World News CBC News
    A Los Angeles man found with multiple weapons and hundreds of pounds of ammunition in his home was charged with making terrorist threats to the Islamic Center of Southern California, authorities announced Tuesday. Mark Lucian Feigin was arrested last week on the charge, which has been designated as a hate crime, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Source
  • Homeless sue Denver over sweeps of encampments

    World News Toronto Sun
    DENVER — When Jerry Burton’s sleeping bag and tent were removed by city workers from his campsite near a rapidly developing area close to downtown Denver, he was able to start over again with backup gear he keeps hidden for emergencies — whether his or someone else’s. Source
  • Cold Lake private Christian school shut down over alleged $1 million mismanagement [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Christian school board in Cold Lake was shut down Tuesday after financial irregularities were discovered, including directing nearly $1 million to a third party that was allegedly spending public cash on liquor, parties and gift cards. Source
  • Calgary top cop on the defensive, again, after damning 2013 workplace review surfaces

    Canada News CBC News
    Calgary's police chief is on the defensive after a three-year-old workplace review has surfaced showing a culture of bullying, harassment, intimidation and retaliation. The 29-page redacted document outlines a police service that some viewed as an "Old Boys Network," including interviews which revealed instances of workplace bullying and harassment involving men and women. Source
  • Chestermere crime kingpin jailed and fined

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Crime kingpin Dung Kien Luong was sentenced Tuesday to 5 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay fines of $1.5 million for tax evasion and other charges. Luong, 53, had earlier pleaded guilty to four charges as part of a plea deal which saw several others withdrawn by the Crown. Source
  • Indians shut down Cubs in World Series opener

    World News CBC News
    Corey Kluber got the Cleveland Indians off to a great start and Roberto Perez finished off the Chicago Cubs in their first World Series game since 1945. Kluber dominated into the seventh inning, Perez hit two home runs and the Indians beat the Cubs 6-0 in the opener Tuesday night. Source
  • Okla. police continue hunt for man accused of killing relatives, filming crime spree

    World News CTV News
    GRAPHIC CONTENT warning: Some of the details in this story are disturbing. OKLAHOMA CITY -- Authorities have spent more than 24 hours seeking a man they say posted live videos to social media while running from police during a violent crime spree that included shooting two police officers, armed car thefts and killing his aunt and uncle, apparently attempting to sever their heads. Source
  • Getting North Korea to give up nukes a 'lost cause,' U.S. intel chief says

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- National Intelligence director James Clapper said Tuesday that the U.S. goal of persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons is probably a "lost cause" and the best hope is to cap its capability. Source
  • Advocacy group calls on B.C. to release provincewide stats on police-dog bites

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A month after a bystander was mistakenly mauled by a Vancouver police dog, a legal advocacy group is calling on the provincial government to release newly gathered numbers outlining how many people are being bitten in British Columbia. Source