By Colleen Jenkins
(Reuters) - Two Virginia Tech students plotted to kill a 13-year-old girl, buying a shovel and loading her body into the trunk of a Lexus before dumping it in a remote location, a prosecutor said on Thursday, according to media reports.
The details emerged during a bail hearing for one of the students jailed in the death of Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg, Virginia, the town where the university is located.
Natalie Keepers, 19, is charged with being an accessory before and after the fact of the murder, as well as with concealing a dead body. David Eisenhauer, 18, a fellow first-year engineering student, is charged with murder and abduction.
A judge denied bond for Keepers at the hearing in Christiansburg, Virginia, a court official confirmed.
Prosecutor Mary Pettitt said the students planned for Eisenhauer to lure Lovell from her home on the promise of a date before taking her to a selected site to cut her throat, the Roanoke Times newspaper reported.
Pettitt did not give a motive, the paper reported, but said Keepers expressed she "was excited to be a part of something secret and special with Eisenhauer."
Keepers maintained she was not present for the killing but told police she helped Eisenhauer load Lovell's body into the trunk of his Lexus, the prosecutor said, according to the newspaper.
Keepers testified she had been receiving counseling and taking medication for mental health issues, the paper said.
Pettitt could not be immediately reached for comment.
Police have said Eisenhauer took advantage of a prior connection with Lovell to abduct and kill her.
A neighbor whose daughters played with Lovell hours before her disappearance last week has told reporters Lovell had shared texts she exchanged through the smartphone messaging app Kik with an 18-year-old male she planned to meet.
Lovell is believed to have been stabbed to death on Jan. 27, the day she disappeared. Her body was found Saturday in a wooded area in North Carolina, about two hours from Blacksburg.
Kik Interactive spokesman Rod McLeod said the messaging service responded to emergency requests from the FBI and believed the information provided helped lead to the suspects' arrests.
Keepers and Eisenhauer could go to prison for life if convicted. Their arrests have shocked acquaintances.
"The David I knew had his faults, but this is beyond the scope of imagination," Gaige Kern, who ran cross country with Eisenhauer at Virginia Tech, wrote on Facebook.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)