Charlottesville Police have identified the victim of an apparent early Monday morning homicide at an apartment complex in Charlottesville. The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Yeardley Love.
Love was a fourth-year University of Virginia student from Cockeysville, Maryland and is on the University’s women’s lacrosse team.
Police were called to 14th Street N.W. around 2:15 a.m. Monday. Officers arrived to find Love unresponsive in the apartment.
Police officers and rescue personnel who were called to the scene attempted to revive her but were unsuccessful.
Police Chief Tim Longo said during a news conference that Love's body was found early Monday morning in her Charlottesville apartment by a roommate.
Longo says police were originally responding to a possible alcohol overdose, but quickly discovered it was something worse. However, no weapon has been found.
Police say preliminary investigation by detectives revealed that Love is the victim of an apparent homicide. She suffered visible physical trauma, but the specific cause of her death is undetermined pending an autopsy.
George Huguely, a 22-year-old fourth-year UVA student from Chevy Chase, Maryland, has been charged with first-degree murder and is in custody at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Regional Jail.
Hughely is a player for the University’s men’s lacrosse team.
According to witnesses, Huguely and Love had a past relationship.
Back when he was in a Maryland prep school, "The Washington Post" asked Huguely about the Duke lacrosse scandal involving a sexual assault allegation that was later found to be untrue.
The paper quoted him saying, "They've been scrutinized so hard and no one knows what has happened yet. In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I think that's the way it should be."
“Student-athletes are devastated,” says UVA Athletic director Craig Littlepage. “We're just torn apart by the news of Ms. Love's death.”
He says the coaches were reacting as if they had lost a loved one, mourning and grieving.
UVA President John Casteen released a statement regarding the death, which said, in part:
"She deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player. She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and for the terrible way in which her young life has ended."
“These are two young people that stood at the threshold of the rest of their lives, and this is very difficult on their families,” says Longo.
Love was scheduled to graduate in three weeks.
Huguely is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Charlottesville Police are continuing to investigate the case and will provide more details as they become available. Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to call Charlottesville Police Sgt. Mark Brake at 434-970-3970 or Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
The following message to the University of Virginia community:
To the University community:
We have learned this morning about the death of a University student, apparently late Sunday night or early this morning, in an apartment on 14th Street. Although we know no details of the police investigation of this death, we note with concern that the Charlottesville Police Department is treating the case as a homicide investigation. In Chief [Michael] Gibson's statement, you will find general advice on personal safety and specific instructions on how to reach the police quickly if you find yourself in danger and if you believe that someone else may be in danger.
Obviously, we take the death of any student very seriously, and we support the police investigation into the causes of this death. Please read Chief Gibson's and the Charlottesville Police Department's statements carefully and completely, and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. If you have information that may be relevant to the investigation, follow the Charlottesville Police Department's advice: call Charlottesville Police Sgt. Mark Brake at 434-970-3970 or Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
Here is Chief Michael Gibson's statement to the university community:
Monday, May 3, 2010
This email is to alert the community that the Charlottesville Police Department is conducting an investigation on the suspicious death of one of our students in a private residence in the 14th Street area.
While Charlottesville remains a relatively safe environment, crimes do occur in our community. The best defense is to be prepared and to take responsibility for your own safety and for that of your friends and fellow students. A few key reminders:
- Trust your instincts about a person or situation. If you feel uncomfortable, immediately report your concerns to police by calling 911.
- If you are on the grounds and need help, pick up one of the blue-light telephones. You will be immediately connected to University Police. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not let a cell phone conversation or listening to music distract you when crossing the street or in any type of situation that calls for your full attention.
- Avoid isolated areas and walking alone at night. Use SafeRide by calling 434-242-1122, walk with friends or take a late-night weekend bus.
- Keep your doors and windows locked.
- Never allow strangers to follow you into a locked building and gain entry by “tailgating” you once you swipe the card reader in a residence hall. Also, never prop open card-reader doors.
- If you see any of the following, immediately call the police at 911: a prowler, someone peeping into a residence, an individual watching, photographing or filming an area, or any other suspicious behavior.
- Work with your neighbors and fellow community members to ensure a safe environment.
Information from the Associated Press included in this report.
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