- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

One of two Virginia Tech University engineering students jailed in the death of a 13-year-old girl was denied bail Thursday, hours before the girl’s funeral.

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WHAT WE KNOW:

- The victim: Nicole Madison Lovell, 13, was a seventh-grader at Blacksburg Middle School who overcame a liver transplant and other health problems, and was active online, posting on Facebook and communicating through Kik Messenger.

- The suspects: David Eisenhauer, 18, is held without bail on charges of kidnapping and first-degree murder. Natalie Keepers, 19, was denied bond Thursday on charges of accessory to a felony and hiding a body. Both have been suspended from Virginia Tech university, where they studied engineering. Their next hearing is March 28.

- The timeline: Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettit said Eisenhauer and Keepers met at a fast-food restaurant on Jan. 26 to plot Nicole’s death, and bought a shovel and cleaning supplies at separate Wal-Mart stores. Pettitt said Eisenhauer and Nicole last made contact at 12:39 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27. Hours later, Nicole’s family called 911 after discovering that she had blocked her door and climbed out overnight. Authorities say Nicole was stabbed to death the day she disappeared.

- Social media’s role: A family friend, Stacy Snider, said that shortly before Nicole vanished, the girl showed her 8-year-old twin daughters the Kik Messenger app on her phone, revealing a series of texts and a photo of her “boyfriend,” an 18-year-old she called David. Nicole told the girls she would be sneaking out to meet him, Snider said. Pettitt said messages on the girl’s phone led them to Eisenhauer, and then Keepers.

- In their defense: “We understand the allegations are disturbing and serious. But they are just allegations,” said Keepers’ attorney, Kristopher Olin. “I believe the truth can set me free,” a police document quotes Eisenhauer as saying.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

- The motive: Authorities have not said why two college students would want to kill a 13-year-old girl.

- Their relationship: Police have not said what if anything Eisenhauer and the girl did together.

- The crime scene: The prosecutor said Nicole’s body was loaded into a Lexus, but not where she was stabbed, or what led police to her body.

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