A friend of slain Virginia girl Nicole Lovell says the seventh-grader talked of running away and starting a family with the man now charged in her slaying.
Natasha Bryant told The Washington Post that Nicole, 13, had called 18-year-old Virginia Tech student David Eisenhauer her boyfriend. Natasha said Nicole described Eisenhauer as "funny and really nice."
On Jan. 27, Nicole apparently climbed out of her bedroom window. Her body was found four days later just across the state line in North Carolina.
She had been fatally stabbed.
Eisenhauer has been charged with abduction and first-degree murder in Nicole's death. Another Virginia Tech student, 19-year-old Natalie Keepers, is charged with accessory before and after the fact and with illegally dumping Nicole's body.
Natasha said Nicole met Eisenhauer online, and that she and other friends had worried about Nicole's social media interactions.
On a recently recorded episode of "Dr. Phil," Nicole's father said his daughter had recently been grounded from social media for chatting inappropriately online with older men.
"You could tell these older guys had fake profiles," her father, David Lovell, told host Phil McGraw, according to excerpts in a release from the show. "Some of the things they said were way too grown up for the picture they had."
Nicole's parents took away her phone before Christmas, but she later got it back, he said on the show, which airs Wednesday.
Nicole told people she was talking to Eisenhauer, Natasha told the Post, which reported that her father permitted the interview.
"She always talked of running away with him," Natasha said. "She used to talk to a lot of older guys. A lot of people told her not to. I told her it's not safe. I told her she was going to be hurt or kidnapped or something."
Nicole's mother, Tammy Weeks, has said her daughter was bullied at school. Natasha said many of Nicole's peers "talked behind her back" about a tracheotomy scar on her throat, and Nicole turned to social media "looking for someone who would give her attention and give her some compassion."
Authorities have not disclosed any possible motive for Nicole's slaying, and her father seems to still be searching for answers.
"How can it go from being my wonderful, happy daughter to she was murdered a few days later? I talked to her about a week before she went missing and everything was normal. She was my little baby girl," he said, according to the "Dr. Phil" statement.
Monday night, organizers held a vigil in Blacksburg, Virginia, to remember Nicole. The Roanoke Times reported that more than 100 people gathered in downtown Blacksburg honor Nicole's memory.
Light poles in the area were strung with blue Christmas lights, and members of the community held candles throughout the night.
Weeks addressed the crowd, thanking the community for their thoughts and prayers and speaking about her daughter, whom she called "Coley."
"As I stand here tonight, my family and I are broken," Weeks said. "God, I miss you Coley."
Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam also spoke at the event, saying the community is strong and standing together.
The event was sponsored by Womanspace at Virginia Tech and Take Back the Night, two organizations dedicated to student and citizen safety.
Friends and others who know Eisenhauer and Keepers have described them as motivated young people who seemed to have a bright future before their arrests. But at a bond hearing last week for Keepers, Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettit said the defendants met at a fast-food restaurant and carefully plotted Nicole's death.
Eisenhauer and Keepers, who both are from the Maryland suburbs in the D.C. area, are being held without bond. Their next court appearance is set for March 28. Defense attorneys have declined to give interviews.