A 13-year-old girl whose remains were discovered along a North Carolina road on Saturday was likely stabbed to death, a prosecutor said Tuesday while announcing new charges in the case.
Two Virginia Tech students face charges in the killing of Nicole Madison Lovell, whose remains were found four days after she was reported missing from her home in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Natalie Keepers, a 19-year-old engineering student, is now charged with being an accessory before the fact of first-degree murder, Montgomery County Commonwealth Attorney Mary Pettitt announced.
That charge, for which Keepers faces 20 years to life in prison, follows her previous felony charge of concealing a dead body and a misdemeanor charge of accessory after the fact. The felony charge carries up to 10 years in prison and the misdemeanor charge carries up to 12 months in prison, Pettitt said.
Eighteen-year-old David Eisenhauer, also a Virginia Tech engineering student, faces charges of first-degree murder and abduction in the child’s death. He was arrested and charged on Saturday.
Nicole's suspected cause of death is a preliminary determination and portions of her autopsy will take more time to complete, Pettitt said.
Tammy Weeks, the victim's mother, also addressed the media at the press conference. Her daughter had defied all odds to live as long as she did, she said.
"At the age of 10 months old, Nicole received a liver transplant and fought for her life," Weeks explained while clutching a stuffed panda bear.
Nicole did best to live a normal life despite numerous health scares, including spending six months in a coma, Weeks said.
"We were advised that at that time she only had a 1 percent chance of survival," she added. "She once again beat the odds."
As of Tuesday authorities have not released a suspected motive in the child's murder. Police have released few details on the case, only saying that Eisenhauer and Nicole were somehow acquainted prior to her death.
Also on HuffPost:
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place