A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night for the slain student on campus. Yarmolenko's brother, 25-year-old Pavel Yarmolenko, described his sister as "incredible" in an interview with the Charlotte Observer. "There's nothing bad about her," he said. "Everything that she's ever done was to help people."
Yarmolenko reportedly was born in the Ukraine but grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., after her parents moved from the country in the 1990s as refugees. Her parents, both scientists, found work in North Carolina, and Yarmolenko graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2006.
Yarmolenko had written for the Niner Online, the online campus newspaper at UNC-Charlotte, and taken pictures for the University Times. The publications described Yarmolenko as "a Daily Show addict and a fan of the Counting Crows" who injected her "love of life" and excitement into the newsroom.
A photo montage set to music and posted online in tribute to the student shows Yarmolenko traveling in the mountains with friends from high school and college, as well as her family members.
Yarmolenko's murder came exactly two months after Eva Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was shot and killed near the university campus.
A pair of men were arrested a week later and charged in Carson's murder after authorities released surveillance stills of the two suspects. In that case, the alleged killers temporarily stole the student's vehicle and attempted to use her debit card.
It is unclear whether anything was stolen from Yarmolenko's vehicle, but Belk said that authorities recovered evidence from her car that could help the investigation.