Virginia Tech Student Charged With Murder of Missing Teen (Updated)

nicole_lovellPolice in Blacksburg, Virginia have confirmed that 13-year-old Nicole Madison Lovell, who disappeared from her home last week, has been found dead in Surrey County, North Carolina.

Authorities yesterday arrested Virginia Tech freshman David Eisenhauer in connection with Lovell’s death, initially charging him with abduction and later first-degree murder after the girl’s remains were discovered.

Eisenhauer is currently being held without bond. Lovell’s body will be autopsied at the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke, Virginia.

Please visit WDBJ here for more on this story.

(Update: Police have announced a second arrest in Nicole Lovell’s murder, according to CBSNews.com.  19-year-old Natalie Keepers of Laurel, Maryland, also a Virginia Tech freshman, has been charged with assisting Eisenhauer in disposing Lovell’s body and being an accessory to a felony after the fact)

 

True Crime Factor Interview: Lorene Bible

Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible

On December 29, 1999, Lauria Bible was spending the night at her best friend Ashley Freeman’s residence in Vinita, Oklahoma as part of a celebration for Ashley’s sixteenth birthday. Later that evening or during the early morning hours of the following day, the Freeman family’s mobile home was set ablaze. Investigators ruled arson.

The body of Ashley Freeman’s mother, Kathy, was uncovered in the ashes. Her husband, Danny and the two teenage girls were unaccounted for.

Jay and Lorene Bible, Lauria’s parents, returned to the crime scene the day after the fire. While searching the rubble, they discovered – despite authorities’ insistence to the contrary – another corpse, later identified as Danny Freeman. Adding to the mystery was the fact that both Kathy and Danny had been shot at close range with a shotgun.

To this day, the whereabouts of Ashley and Lauria remain unknown. Two death row inmates have confessed to killing the girls, but further investigation into their admissions failed to produce a resolution to the crimes.

Since the Freeman murders and disappearances of Ashley and Lauria, speculation has swirled of drug ties, police corruption, family friction and connections to serial killers. The story has received heavy media exposure, including coverage on high-profile television programs such as America’s Most Wanted, Unsolved Mysteries and Investigation Discovery’s Disappeared.

Lorene Bible has refused to abandon the hope that she will one day discover what happened to her daughter on that December night in 1999. Mrs. Bible kindly spoke with me on the evening of January 29 to discuss the Freeman slayings, Ashley and Lauria’s vanishing and the ongoing investigation into the case.

You can visit the official Find Lauria Bible Facebook page here. More information on the Freeman/Bible story is available at the following links:

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/b/bible_lauria.html

http://unsolved.com/archives/lauria-bible-ashley-freeman

Please click on the “Play” icon below to hear the interview:

 

 

Missing Ohio Woman Found Dead in Abandoned Building

jessica_harrisThe body of a woman reported missing earlier this week was discovered inside an abandoned apartment building in east Columbus, Ohio yesterday morning, according to WBNS-10TV.

24-year-old Jessica Harris, who was reported missing on Tuesday, was found with multiple stab wounds. Despite the condition of the body, however, police have not released an official cause of death.

Investigators named Alan Stewart as the suspect in Harris’ murder. The two had recently become friends, according to a police report.

Stewart reportedly confessed to pushing Harris down some stairs before stabbing her to death while being interviewed by police. He has been charged with one count of murder.

Please visit the above link to read more.

 

True Crime Factor Interview: James Renner

amy_coverJames Renner was eleven years old when Amy Mihaljevic was abducted from a Bay Village, Ohio shopping plaza on October 27, 1989. Following the kidnapping, Renner became immersed in Mihaljevic’s disappearance, determined to bring the girl only nine months younger than himself home. When Mihaljevic’s lifeless body was discovered in a cornfield in Ashland, Ohio on February 8, 1990, it began for Renner an enduring obsession to find her killer.

Today, James Renner is a renowned journalist and author of both fiction and non-fiction novels. Even as an adult, Renner’s fervour for solving the Amy Mihaljevic murder remains a significant part of his life. In 2006, Gray & Company released Amy: My Search for Her Killer, documenting Renner’s near two-year investigation into the case. He also maintains a blog at AmyMihaljevic.Blogspot.ca, where developments in the story are posted. This past October, Renner was featured as part of a CNN piece on social media and true crime for his journalistic involvement in the Mihaljevic killing.

James kindly granted me an interview to discuss his hands-on exploration into the Amy Mihaljevic case, which now spans over a decade. Amy: My Search for Her Killer is available for purchase on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and via Gray & Company Publishers.

You can visit James online at his official website, JamesRenner.com, follow him on Twitter under the handle @JamesRenner and find his official Facebook page here.

(Special thanks to David Gray and Jane Lassar of Gray & Company Publishers)

Before we discuss the Amy Mihaljevic case, I’d like to give you an opportunity to speak about a couple of books you have upcoming and recently released. First is True Crime Addict, which documents the high-profile New Hampshire missing persons case of Maura Murray and your investigation into the story since 2011. The book is slated for release in May and currently available for pre-order. This will be the definitive account of Maura Murray’s case and I imagine you must be very excited.

I’m counting the days to May 24’s release. This book was a challenge in many ways and there were many who believed it never would be published. Yes, it will stand as the definitive book on the case, but it is also a memoir and I think people will be surprised at how much I reveal about myself and my family as the mystery of what happened to Maura Murray progresses. I think readers will be left with a good sense for what happened and why. This book will change the case and my life in unexpected ways. It already is. It’s going to be a hell of a trip.

You also had a fiction title released this past November called The Great Forgetting. Can you tell us about that book?

The Great Forgetting is like a great big lost episode of The Twilight Zone or the X-Files. It starts small – in a sleepy Ohio town, where a psychiatrist has gone missing – and becomes a race to save the entire world. Every major conspiracy is woven into the fabric of the story: chemtrails, fluoride, HAARP, Nazis, human hybrids. It’s a fun ride. My novels serve as a form of therapy for me, something I can turn to when the real-life investigations get a little too dangerous.

Your captivation with the Amy Mihaljevic murder case began at the age of eleven, immediately following her killing. You vowed then to find her murderer and since October of 1989, that passion has never dissipated. Why do you feel this case has remained so personal to you for all of these years?

Amy’s case has remained personal for me after all these years for a couple reasons. We were the same age and it was that time in my life where I realized for the first time that we live in a dangerous world. And I survived an attempted abduction myself a little bit later (the details of which are revealed in True Crime Addict). She was the first real case I took on and it’s the one I really want to solve before I die.

Amy: My Search for Her Killer – your book documenting the Mihaljevic murder – was released in October 2006. Was writing Amy a therapeutic experience for you, or did becoming even further immersed in the case only fuel your desire for a resolution to the killing?

Amy’s case is an unhealthy obsession. Not just for me, but for several of the FBI agents and detectives who have worked the case. Nothing therapeutic about it. You have to eventually set it aside before it devours you. I came out on the other side with a good dose of PTSD. There are things you learn about humanity while researching this case that you are better off not knowing.

A primary reason I enjoyed the book so much is due to the fact that it is written from an autobiographical perspective detailing your investigation into the Mihaljevic case. Was this a deliberate decision on your part as a way to differentiate Amy from other true crime novels or simply your preferred format for writing the book?

I’m not your typical reporter. In J-school, they teach you to keep a distance from yourself and the subjects of your stories. That’s not possible for me. I like getting my hands dirty. I like banging on the doors of suspects’ homes after dark. I like talking my way into crime scenes. I enjoy finding the skeletons in someone’s closet. But if you go that deep, you become part of the story. That’s happened in Amy’s case and also in Maura Murray’s case. I didn’t just report on the story, I advanced it. Not saying that’s the right way to go, just that it’s the only way I know how to do it.

You were profiled by CNN in the fall for your work and dedication to Amy’s case over the years. Can you tell us about that experience and how it came about?

CNN contacted me last spring about doing a long piece on my work using social media to uncover new clues in cold cases. Two journalists came out to Ohio for a few days in May and I showed them around. They filmed so much footage, but you only get to see about three minutes of it in the end. It was a fun experience overall. And it brought a lot of new attention to Amy’s case.

You are featured in the CNN piece as saying, “Everybody has that local case, it’s that moment in time where you realize that you live in a dangerous world.” I can relate to that statement, as I reside in the Niagara Region of Ontario, where Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka – considered by many to be Canada’s most notorious serial killers – committed a series of horrific murders against young female victims. I recall the media frenzy surrounding the crimes and correlate that to your quote on Amy’s case. Would you say her disappearance was a pivotal moment in your life even before discovering that she had been murdered?

Oh, yeah. For sure. Remember, when I was eleven and Amy was still missing, I’d ride my bike to the mall and look for her. I thought I could find her. I thought I could solve the case, that maybe I was as smart as Encyclopedia Brown or something. So when they announced that they found her body three months later, I was devastated. It never occurred to me that she might not come back alive. That’s not how it happened in movies or books.

You maintain a blog titled “Finding Amy’s Killer” devoted to the case, which can be found at AmyMihaljevic.Blogspot.ca. Since the inception of the page in August 2006, there have been a number of developments in the investigation and you have examined several new potential suspects from the time that the book was released. Do you intend to continue investigating Amy’s murder until the case is solved?

I don’t think I can ever completely walk away from Amy’s case. The blog serves as a lightning rod for information now. So it will remain up, in the hopes that the person who knows what happened will contact me one day.

At the end of the day, have you developed a solitary theory about what happened to Amy Mihaljevic that you favor among all other speculation?

The best I’ve been able to do is narrow it to three suspects (the FBI maintain a “Top 25” list). I am convinced it is one of three men and one man stands above the others. I think he took her without an endgame, without knowing where it would lead. Eventually, Amy realized she was in danger and fought back. He hit her, hard. Then, he knew he was caught. And he panicked. I don’t think her killer ever killed again. Or before. That’s what makes this one so difficult to solve. It was a one-time thing.

You close Amy with the line, “This case is solvable.” A decade later, and with all of the twists, turns and possible suspects in Amy’s murder, do you still feel this way?

Yes. If only because they have the killer’s DNA. Or part of it. Eventually, they’ll match it.

Thank you, James, I appreciate your time. I commend you on your dedication to this case for the past two-and-a-half decades and highly recommend Amy: My Search for Her Killer to anybody who wishes to learn more about Amy’s story.

 

Apparent Murder-Suicide Leaves Six Family Members Dead in Virginia

murder_suicideSix family members are dead as a result of an apparent murder-suicide following a police standoff in Virginia, according to WTKR.

Responding Chesapeake police reportedly discovered a deceased body inside of a private residence Wednesday afternoon. The investigation led officers to a nearby home, where they discovered an armed man barricaded inside. Authorities attempted negotiations for several hours before entering the house, where they found five people dead, including the armed male.

Authorities later identified the armed man as 26-year-old Cameron Dooley. Police also confirmed the identities of four of the five victims: Dooley’s father, Steven Dooley; Mother, Lori Dooley; brother, Landon Dooley; and sister, Brooke Dooley. The fifth victim was an adult female whose name is being withheld until she is positively identified by the Medical Examiner.

All six family members were discovered with gunshot wounds.

Please visit the above link to read more.

 

 

True Crime Factor Interview: Tina Meier

tina_meierOn the afternoon of October 16, 2006, Tina Meier discovered her daughter Megan hanging in her bedroom closet at the family‘s Missouri home, the result of a horrific suicide attempt. Despite efforts to revive the teen, Megan would pass away the following day, just three weeks shy of her fourteenth birthday.

It would later be uncovered that Megan, who had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts since the third grade, was the victim of an online hoax concocted by a former friend, her mother and a family associate. Together, the trio created a faux MySpace account under the guise of an attractive 16-year-old named “Josh Evans,” which they used to befriend – and later betray – Megan. It was “Josh’s” cruel words on October 16 that drove Megan to the brink of suicide; Tina Meier discovered her daughter less than 30 minutes later.

Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s former friend, was convicted on violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 2008, but her conviction was later overturned on appeal. Neither Drew’s daughter nor the family employee were ever prosecuted in connection with Megan’s death.

Tina Meier founded the Megan Meier Foundation in December of 2007. As part of her work with the organization, Tina travels the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issues of bullying and cyberbullying. She also worked closely with Missouri government officials – including Senator Scott Rupp and then-Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force – to help pass Senate Bill 818, state legislation which amended harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication. The bill took effect in August 2008.

megan_meier_foundation_logoTina kindly spoke with me on January 26 to discuss Megan’s story, the legal-related frustrations she and the Meier family experienced following her daughter’s death and the creation of the Megan Meier Foundation.

You can visit the Megan Meier Foundation website here, follow the organization on Twitter under the handle @MeganMeierFndn and find their official Facebook page at this link.

(Special thanks to Alex King. Photos courtesy of the Megan Meier Foundation)

Please click on the “Play” icon below to hear the interview:

Florida Man Arrested After Family Found Slain

lee_county_logoWINK reports that 27-year-old Patrick Carlopoli is being held on multiple charges after his girlfriend, her teenage daughter and the couple’s toddler were found dead at their Southwest, Florida home on Sunday.

Deputies discovered 37-year-old Tammy Modlin and her 16-year-old daughter Montana Modlin deceased on a bed with a firearm between them. 3-year-old Jeanne Carlopoli was also found fatally stabbed along with the family dog.

Officers detained Patrick Carlopoli, who directed the deputies to the bodies and admitted to shooting his “wife,” although the couple are not married.

Please visit the above link to read more.