On the night of Nov. 1, Kercher went to a friend's house for dinner and then walked home alone. Some time later that night, Kercher was murdered in a brutal assault in her bedroom — her throat was slit, she choked on her blood and she was left partially clothed, covered with a duvet.
Police launched an investigation to find the person responsible for the gruesome murder.
Kercher's family said no one would ever want to kill her. "She was one of the most beautiful, intelligent, witty and caring people that you could wish to meet," said her sister Stephanie Kercher.
An intense investigation ensued, and police theorized that Kercher was killed as an unwilling participant in an extreme drug-fueled sex game.
They quickly focused on Knox and Sollecito. Knox says she returned to her cottage from Sollecito's apartment the next morning to take a shower, but found the front door of the cottage ajar and became suspicious. Concerned, she asked Sollecito to come over and Knox called her mother.
"And she said, 'Well, I was at Rafaele's last night, and I've come home now and I think somebody's been in my house,'" Mellas recalled.
"And she told me, 'We can't find Meredith. We can't get a hold of Meredith. And her room is locked.' And I said, "Hang up and call the police.'"
Police soon arrived at the cottage to return Kercher's cell phones, which were found in a neighbor's yard. After breaking down the door to Kercher's room, police found her dead — her throat slit after an apparent sexual assault.
Police say Knox first told them that she was at Sollecito's apartment the night of the murder. Four days later, she went with Sollecito to police to answer questions and found herself in an overnight interrogation, during which she said she had a vision where she may have been in her apartment when the deadly attack occurred, covering her ears when she may have heard screams. She also thought her employer — bar owner Patrick Lumumba — may have been in Kercher's room that night.
Knox later made a final account that matches her original statement, saying that she slept at Sollecito's apartment that fatal night.
"Her story and her version of what happened that night has totally stayed consistent, absolutely consistent," said Mellas. "If you take out that [overnight] interrogation without a lawyer, without an interpreter, other than that time when she was … like she says, the most scared that she's ever been in her entire life, her story has not changed one iota."
Police felt Knox and Sollecito's changing accounts of the night were enough to arrest them, along with Lumumba, Nov. 6. Just six weeks after arriving to study in Italy, Knox found herself in an Italian jail where suspects can be held for a year without being charged.
Immediately after their arrest, the young couple and their behavior during the days after the murder came under fire. The day Kercher's body was discovered, they were videotaped kissing at the crime scene. The following day, they were observed buying what the tabloids described as "lingerie for a night of wild sex."
Police said damning evidence seemed to mount against Knox and Sollecito, including a knife from Sollecito's kitchen that had Knox's DNA on the handle and Kercher's DNA on the blade.
Instantly, Knox was thrown into the center of an international media frenzy.