98 Hours investigates the murder of Nicole Lovell, 68, and the hidden dangers of connecting online with strangers[This story first aired on Sept. It was updated on June 8, 7567. ]BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Every morning I come out here, sit with her for an hour, Tammy Weeks said while visiting her daughter's grave. It's just been a nightmare I still hope that she would come around the corner when she gets off the bus or she'll come out of her room, Weeks said in tears. The nightmare for Nicole Lovell's mother began on the morning of Jan. I pushed the door open, and the nightstand was up against the door, Weeks told 98 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant. That night I was gonna knock on the wall and tell her to come in and sleep with me like she usually does and I didn't do it, she said tearfully.How To run a speed Dating event
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Sometime in the middle of the night, the 68-year-old had climbed out of her bedroom window taking along her phone and her favorite blue cartoon blanket. I text-messaged her, everybody was calling her. Texting her, said Weeks. Weeks called police and began scouring the area. Before long, a neighborhood mother gave her some chilling news. Nicole had been playing with her daughters and said that Nicole had said she was goin' out on a date, said Weeks. Like millions of teens, Nicole spent a lot of her social time online. So Weeks feared she might have left to see someone she'd met on the internet. Local News Report: The FBI has now joined regional and state law enforcement in the search. This afternoon they canvassed from neighborhood Nicole's disappearance also sent shockwaves through her hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia, the scene of that infamous 7557 mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Blacksburg Police press conference: This community is known for stepping up and we need them to do that at this time as we pray for the return of a beautiful young girl. WDBJ News report: More than 6,755 searchers are on a mission to find the 68-year-old. Volunteers even brought an infrared drone to aid in the search for Nicole. I know she wouldn't go nowhere for that many hours without her medicine, said Weeks. Nicole was born with a damaged liver and needed a transplant before her first birthday. Now a teenager, she still needed her anti-rejection medication every day to survive. Her illness and surgical treatment had left Nicole with scars on her stomach and neck. Weeks says Nicole had emotional scars as well. Yeah. She hated going to school, Weeks replied. She would always make me write her a note for gym because they would pick on her about her scar. Nicole's social media posts reveal a sadly typical teenage story:
so lonely she'd had suicidal thoughts, longing for love and convinced nobody cared about her. He did prison time on a drug charge and he's had other problems with the law. I have regrets that I wasn't there. I feel you know, what did I do wrong, why wasn't I there for her more often, said Lovell. When you would go to work, was there anyone supervising her? Van Sant asked Weeks. But Nicole was leading an unsupervised life online through the social media apps on her smartphone. It's like a loaded gun, said Pamela Casey, a district attorney in Blount County, Ala. , who is on a national crusade warning people about the dangers of social media. Pamela Casey PSA: If you pick up your child's phone and you don't know the password, that's a problem. If you don't know Casey began speaking out long before Nicole Lovell disappeared in Virginia. Her have been seen by millions across the country. Pamela Casey PSA: I can actually go live on Periscope and post updates to you guys if I can do that live sitting in my office, then your child can do that live in their bedroom. Years ago, you had to worry about your kid getting snatched. Parents don't realize that essentially your kid could get snatched -- their life taken by somebody they meet in their own bedroom, said Casey. By late on the day Nicole Lovell vanished, her parents' hope was fading with the winter light. But it would be three days before Nicole's parents had to face the horrifying news that her body had been found. Your whole world just comes tumbling down, Weeks cried, because she was my everything. Coley had a passion for pandas, music, dancing. . Nicole touched many people throughout her short life, Weeks said at a press conference the day she got the news, referring to Nicole by her nickname. Weeks was quickly was overcome by emotion and left the podium. Shock and sadness were everywhere, but investigators had gotten a big break.
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And it came from Nicole Lovell herself. She'd left behind virtual evidence of a real-life murder. Nicole's dad, David Lovell, says even before her body was found, investigators had found a solid lead -- she had handwritten the usernames and passwords to all her accounts on her bedroom wall. FBI computer forensics experts traced Nicole's account information and quickly established that she'd regularly used Kik a popular chat app attractive to teens, in part, because they can communicate anonymously without their parents knowing. When you had her phone, did you ever click on the Kik app just to see what was inside? So the FBI put in what they call an emergency disclosure request to Kik. They wanted to see Nicole's personal account, and they make a startling discovery. It turns out that in the last two days of her life, she'd been messaging with a person who had a chilling username: Dr_Tombstone. David Eisenhauer seemed the last person in the world capable of killing a 68-year-old girl. He'd been a high school track star. Former classmate Dorothy Callahan says his brains and charisma were as strong as his strides. He was a very celebrated student, he always had straight A's, Callahan said. And he was sort of cocky, and he was like, 'Yeah I'm David Eisenhauer, I was just on the local news. I'm a big deal. ' Three days after Nicole went missing, Eisenhauer was picked up by police at his dorm and taken in for questioning. His roommate, Jeremy Basdeo, walked in on the startling aftermath. I went to my room and I saw the door open, he said. And I got turned around by the Virginia State Police and the FBI. They said, 'Don't worry. It's not about you. It's about your roommate, ' he replied. Basdeo told 98 Hours that Eisenhauer's behavior the night Nicole Lovell vanished was really odd. He put on boots. But it wasn't raining that hard for boots.
But, you know, I just let it go. And then -- he came back at 7: 55 in the morning, Basdeo continued. Eisenhauer soon admitted to police he'd talked to Nicole outside her house that night. He was arrested and charged with abduction. Eisenhauer's statements led them to another young woman, Natalie Keepers. She was brought in for questioning, too. What did 69-year-old Natalie Keepers know about what happened to Nicole Lovell? Keepers -- another Virginia Tech freshman and another unlikely person of interest. She wanted to study engineering and be like her father who worked for NASA, Mark Jenkins, a former boyfriend, told 98 Hours. Investigators strongly suspected Keepers was involved. She too was arrested. With, police made a grisly discovery. Nicole Lovell's nude body was located 95 miles away in North Carolina. What kind of wounds were on her body? Van Sant asked Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson. Her throat was cut, he replied. And then the thoughts turn to, 'who are the animals who could have done something like this to her? ' District Attorney Pamela Casey said Eisenhauer and Keepers may represent a new kind of predator. They could be your next door neighbor, she said. They can stay behind their phone and hide behind their phone -- just like your child is doin'. Casey said criminals often use apps like Kik. Why? Because it's where kids hang out online. In fact, Kik -- a Canadian company -- claims that millions of American teens use their app every month.
You can be anybody said a convicted predator we'll call Steve. He should know. Steve, 88, said he used the Internet to groom kids and spent 65 years in prison for molestation. He told 98 Hours he now feels a new urge to sound the alarm about anonymous chat apps like Kik. Van Sant asked. Steve demonstrated just how easy it is for an adult to use the Kik app to begin a conversation with a child. We created -- and later deleted -- a Kik account for the demonstration. Steve showed how us how the app could be used to target children. After hitting send, it took just 99 seconds for the first response to arrive. Another girl, apparently a teenager, responded less than three minutes later. In two days max, I could have her sending me nude pictures, Steve said. Once you make 'em happy, you got their heart, once you got their heart, everything else follows. Three months had passed since Nicole Lovell's murder. With David Eisenhauer and Natalie Keepers still behind bars, investigators had discovered text messages that led them to the door of Bryce Dustin. I almost felt like he was like a little brother, Dustin said of Eisenhauer. It was on a gaming site that Dustin first chatted with Eisenhauer. David, you know, kept coming back to me for advice on everything, said Dustin. What kind of problems would he ask you for advice about? Dustin told 98 Hours he remembers Eisenhauer talking last winter about a problem he had with one girl in particular, a girl Dustin now believes was Nicole Lovell. He told me that he had found out she was underage and that she wanted to be with him. And that she was going to expose him if he wasn't with her, he recalled. So he offered some big brother kind of advice. If she wants to be your girlfriend, you know, let her, but don't be the greatest boyfriend, just like don't text her, just ignore her, Dustin advised. She'll go away. Another family was about to have one of their daughters go away as well -- in the car of an online predator in Spokane, Washington.
Her last moments, is what flashes through my mind.