The mother of slain 13-year-old Nicole Lovell was only able to speak briefly before being overwhelmed by sobs Tuesday as she spoke to reporters.
"Nicole was a very lovable person. Nicole touched many people throughout her short life,” a weeping Tammy Weeks said.
Lovell was stabbed to death, authorities announced Tuesday, and likely died on Jan. 27, the day she went missing from her Blacksburg, Virginia home.
The girl had pushed a dresser against her bedroom door and climbed out a window, authorities said.
Two Virginia Tech students have been arrested in connection with her death.
On Tuesday, prosecutors also announced an additional charge of being an accessory to murder has been filed against Natalie Marie Keepers, 19.
Mary Pettitt, a Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said that charge carries a sentence of 20 years to life upon conviction. Keepers was previously charged with helping to dispose of Lovell’s body and being an accessory to murder after the fact. She still faces those charges.
David Edmond Eisenhauer, 19, was arrested four days after her disappearance and charged with abduction, authorities said. After Nicole's body was found in rural North Carolina, nearly 100 miles from her home, he was charged with first-degree murder.
Both are being held without bail and have not entered pleas.
Authorities said Eisenhauer had a relationship with the girl, and used that to lure her to her death. Details of that relationship have not been released.
Nicole had survived several life-threatening health issues, including undergoing a liver transplant and enduring respiratory ailments.
The suspects were high-achieving engineering students at Virginia Tech, officials said. They are both from Maryland.
After Nicole's mother became emotional, the girl's youth pastor stepped forward.
“Our hearts still ache with sadness and secret tears still flow,” said Josh Blankenship.