On Jan. 27, 13-year-old Nicole Lovell went missing. Her mother, Tammy Weeks, went to Lovell’s bedroom that night but found the door barricaded. The window in Lovell’s room was open. Lovell, along with her Minions character blanket, was nowhere to be found. Three days later, her body was discovered in a wooden area just over the North Carolina border. She had been stabbed to death.
David Eisenhauer, an 18-year-old student at Virginia Tech and a graduate of Wilde Lake High School, has been arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of Lovell. Natalie Keepers, a 19-year-old also studying at Virginia Tech and a graduate of Hammond High School, is accused of being an accessory to the murder.
On Feb. 4, prosecutor Mary Pettitt provided more information regarding this case and argued against granting bail for Keepers. According to Pettitt, Eisenhauer and Keepers met at Cook Out, a fast-food chain restaurant, prior to Lovell’s disappearance to discuss the details about the murder. Eisenhauer told Keepers that he planned on luring Lovell out of her home, taking her to a remote location and using a knife to cut her throat.
Pettitt also said that the pair allegedly bought a shovel and scouted an isolated location for the killing. After Eisenhauer killed Lovell, Keepers helped Eisenhauer move Lovell’s body into the trunk of his Lexus. Then, they went out to buy cleaning supplies.
After Lovell’s body was discovered, the police went searching for Keepers, who they eventually found at her boyfriend’s house. Upon searching the premises, the police found cleaning supplies and Lovell’s Minions character blanket. When the police first arrived, Keepers sent Eisenhauer a text message saying, “POLICE.”
After sorting through social media and other information related to the case, the police decided to arrest Eisenhauer. According to a law enforcement official, Eisenhauer had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Lovell by using the anonymous Kik messenger app. When she threatened to expose their relationship to her family and friends, Eisenhauer killed her. However, Keepers’ alleged motive for helping Eisenhauer in the murder has not been clear. According to Pettitt, Keepers’ motive was that she was “excited to be part of something secretive and special.”
Eisenhauer and Keepers are currently being held without bond in jail, and their next court appearance is scheduled for March 28.
Many people who knew Eisenhauer and Keepers were shocked when they learned that the two were involved in Lovell’s murder. Family and friends of Eisenhauer and Keepers described them as motivated young people with a bright future ahead of them.
Eisenhauer graduated last year from Wilde Lake. He was a good student and a talented runner. Last year, he was chosen to be the Howard County Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and was a two-time Class 3A state runner-up in cross country.
In an interview, James LeMon, principal of Wilde Lake High School, said, “He was an excellent student here. Obviously he was an outstanding athlete… It was just very shocking news.”
While a student at Hammond, Keepers was on the editorial staff for school’s literary magazine and was involved in multiple school performances. Keepers was studying to become an aerospace engineer like her father. When Tim Keepers first learned about his daughter’s arrest, he could not believe what he was hearing. All he kept thinking was “not my daughter.”
“It’s kind of like when you get punched in the stomach by someone who is much bigger than you,” stated Tim Keepers.
Nicole Lovell’s funeral was held on Feb. 4 in McCoy Funeral Home in Blacksburg, Virginia. Hundreds of mourners came to pay their respects to her.