Police use computer forensics in Nicole Lovell investigation
BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) -- Investigators involved in the search for 13-year-old Nicole Lovell turned to computer forensics the morning she was reported missing January 27, 2016, according to a search warrant obtained by WSLS 10 Friday.
The Blacksburg Police Department immediately asked for assistance with the investigation from the FBI which identified "many email, social media and chat applications" used by Lovell.
During a search of her room, an intelligence analyst with the Blacksburg Police Department "identified several social media accounts, usernames and passwords scribbled on the bedroom walls," the warrant stated.
Investigators also discovered Lovell used the mobile messaging platform KIK, with an account named "Nicole_lovell_1514" in which she exchanged messages with "Dr_Tombstone," an account later linked to former Virginia Tech Student David Eisenhauer, who is now charged with her death.
The court document details how a special agent assigned to the Cyber Squad of the FBI with multiple degrees in information security and computer science and trained in computer forensics, contacted KIK with an Emergency Disclosure Request, according to the warrant.
A review of the records provided by KIK showed subscriber records and IP logs for Dr_Tombstone were listed to "David A" with the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. It was later traced David Eisenhauer.
Investigators determined through the records and an analysis of Lovell's social media and telephone messages, that the KIK app was the last one with which Lovell connected at 12:39 a.m. on January 27.
Searches of the Virginia Tech student directory information showed that David Eisenhauer was a registered student at the University. Investigators used public access information that led to a photograph on the HokieSports website that appeared to closely resemble a photo "David A" used on his KIK account, according to the warrant.
Police found Eisenhauer shortly before midnight on January 29 at his Virginia Tech dorm room. He was taken to the Blacksburg Police Department for questioning and waived his right to an attorney, according to the warrant.
During that interview, Eisenhauer admitted to having had contact with Lovell using his KIK messaging account and driving to her home and seeing her climb out of her bedroom window. He said he approached Lovell in the parking lot outside her home and gave her a hug but then left immediately afterward, according to the warrant.
Also on the January 29, police seized Eisenhauer's 2008 Lexus four-door sedan on campus, according to the warrant which was issued in order to search the vehicle "as it identified as a location where evidence may be reasonably found."
The warrant shows investigators would search the vehicle for "physical evidence related to the abduction and murder of Nicole Madison Lovell, including but not limited to fingerprints, hair, DNA- containing body fluids and other trace evidence. Additional items such as restraints, cleaning items and unaccounted for personal effects (e.g. phone, clothing, jewelry) related to the victim are also sought."
Eisenhauer is charged with abduction and first degree murder in the death of Lovell. 19-year-old Natalie Keepers is charged with accessory before and after the fact to the murder and improper disposal of a body in the case.
Both have preliminary hearings scheduled for March 28.
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