BLACKSBURG, Va. – A friend of the 13-year-old Virginia girl who was killed after climbing out of her bedroom window says the seventh-grader talked of running away and starting a family with the man now charged in her slaying.
Natasha Bryant told The Washington Post that Nicole Lovell said 18-year-old Virginia Tech student David Eisenhauer was her boyfriend.
She says Nicole descried Eisenhauer as “funny and really nice” shortly before her Jan. 27 disappearance in Blacksburg.
Natasha says Nicole met Eisenhauer online.
She says she and other friends worried about Nicole’s social media interactions.
“She told people she was talking to him,” Natasha told The Washington Post. “We didn’t think it was that big of a deal because she didn’t make that much of it. She always talked of running away with him. She used to talk to a lot of older guys. A lot of people told her not to. I told her it’s not safe. I told her she was going to be hurt or kidnapped or something.”
Nicole’s father says in a recorded episode of the “Dr. Phil” television show that she had recently been grounded from social media for chatting inappropriately online with older men.
The show says in a news release that David Lovell told host Phil McGraw that it was obvious some of the older men had fake profiles.
He said the parents found out before Christmas and took her phone away, although she later got it back.
Police say Eisenhauer and Nicole were acquainted before her disappearance, and that he “used this relationship to his advantage to abduct and then kill her.”
Eisenhauer did not lead authorities to the body, according to Blacksburg police Chief Anthony Wilson, nor did he confess to murder. Still, authorities managed to piece things together after sorting through social media, exploring 300-plus tips and searching for other information pertinent to the case.
Two law enforcement officials have told The Washington Post that Eisenhauer had sexual contact with the girl.
Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt says Eisenhauer and his friend Natalie Keepers, 19, had plotted the attack over the course of the month of January, The Washington Post reports.
Keepers is charged with accessory before and after the fact and with illegally dumping Nicole’s body just across the state line in North Carolina.
Pettitt says the two bought a shovel and picked a remote spot to slit the teen’s throat.
Eisenhauer is charged with abduction and first-degree murder.
If convicted, he faces a sentence of 20 years to life.