BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The "very preliminary" cause of death was stabbing in the case of a murdered Blacksburg 13-year-old, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
They also announced more serious charges against a second Virginia Tech student charged in the death of Nicole Lovell. Natalie Keepers, 19, will be charged Tuesday with being an accessory before the fact to the first-degree murder of Lovell, the Commonwealth Attorney said. Keepers remains charged with one felony count of improper disposal of a body and one misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact in the commission of a felony.
Lovell's mother, Tammy Weeks, spoke briefly at the news conference but was overcome with emotion and unable to finish reading a prepared statement.
"Coley had a passion for pandas, music and dancing – dreamed of being on American idol.. someday," cried Weeks, as she clutched a panda that Nicole loved.
According to her mom, the 13-year-old Nicole, or "Coley" as she was known, had a rough start at life - diagnosed with a liver tumor as baby, then getting a transplant only to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and then MRSA.
Weeks says she was always a fighter.
"Nicole was very lovable (cries). Nicole touched many people throughout her short life," said Weeks.
It was at this point Weeks was so distraught, she couldn't finish. Nicole's pastor stepped in.
"The last part here says: Our hearts still ache in sadness and secret tears still flow what it meant to lose you. No one will ever know," read Nicole's youth pastor, Josh Blankenship.
Investigators continue to search for clues in Lovell's death. Blacksburg police and prosecutors say they're committed to getting justice for Nicole and her family and have received more than 400 tips.
"Local, state and federal investigators assigned to the case continue to make progress with reconstructing the time line of those two individuals' movements and activities leading up to Nicole's abduction and murder," said Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson.
Those clues lead to an addition charge for Keepers.
"My responsibility is to Nicole Lovell and this community is to maintain the integrity of the case and seek justice in the courtroom," said Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettit.
Another Virginia Tech student, David Eisenhauer, is charged with first-degree murder in Lovell's death.
The visitation for Nicole Lovell will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at McCoy Funeral Home, located at 150 Country Club Dr. in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The funeral will be held on Thursday at 3 p.m. at the same location.
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