BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — The 13-year-old Virginia girl who was killed after climbing out of her bedroom window talked of running away and starting a family with the man now charged in her slaying, a friend and classmate of the seventh-grader said.
Natasha Bryant told The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1O082hF ) that Nicole Lovell said Virginia Tech engineering student David Eisenhauer, 18, was her boyfriend. She said Nicole described Eisenhauer as "funny and really nice" shortly before her Jan. 27 disappearance in Blacksburg.
Eisenhauer is charged with abduction and first-degree murder. Another Virginia Tech student, 19-year-old Natalie 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. Authorities say Nicole was stabbed.
Natasha, also 13, said Nicole met Eisenhauer online and corresponded with him online. Natasha said she was unaware of Eisenhauer's age at the time. But Natasha said she and other friends worried about Nicole's online activities.
Nicole's father, David Lovell, said in a recorded interview for the "Dr. Phil" television show that the family also became concerned after learning before Christmas that Nicole was chatting "inappropriately" with older men, according to a news release from the show.
"You could tell these older guys had fake profiles," Lovell told host Phil McGraw, according to excerpts in the release. "Some of the things they said were way too grown up for the picture they had." The parents took away Nicole's phone, but she later got it back, he said for the show, which airs Wednesday.
Natasha told the newspaper — which said her father agreed that she could be interviewed — that Nicole told people she was talking to Eisenhauer.
"She always talked of running away with him," she said. "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 mother, Tammy Weeks, has said her daughter was bullied at school. Natasha said many of Nicole's peers "talked behind her back" about a tracheotomy scar on her throat, and Nicole turned to social media "looking for someone who would give her attention and give her some compassion."
Authorities have not disclosed any possible motive for Nicole's slaying, and her father seems to still be searching for answers.
"How can it go from being my wonderful, happy daughter to she was murdered a few days later? I talked to her about a week before she went missing and everything was normal. She was my little baby girl," he said, according to the "Dr. Phil" statement.
Meanwhile, more than 100 people gathered Monday evening in Blacksburg for a vigil in Nicole's memory. Weeks spoke to the crowd about her daughter, whom she called "Coley."
"As I stand here tonight, my family and I are broken," Weeks said. "God, I miss you, Coley."
Friends and others who know Eisenhauer and Keepers have described them as motivated young people who seemed to have a bright future before their arrests. But at a bond hearing last week for Keepers, Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettit said the defendants met at a fast-food restaurant and carefully plotted Nicole's death.
Eisenhauer and Keepers, who both are from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, are being held without bond. Their next court appearance is set for March 28. Defense attorneys have declined to give interviews.