The death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, whose body was found last week in a farmer's field in Virginia, has been ruled a homicide, authorities said today.
"The criminal investigation into the death of Miss Harrington is continuing," said a statement released by the Virginia State Police. "No arrests have been made at this time."
The police announcement did not say how Harrington was killed, however.
"The cause and time of death are still to be determined by the Medical Examiner," the statement said.
Family and friends of Harrington have long been convinced that the 20-year-old was a murder victim.
Jenna Testerman, one of Harrington's best friends, said that she knows Harrington would not have succumbed to a killer without putting up a fight.
"I really don't know what happened to her," Testerman told ABCNews.com, just days after the search for Harrington came to a grim ending with the discovery of her body. "She wasn't someone who would just wander off."
"But what I do know is that Morgan is a fighter and she would have fought to the death," said Testerman.
The mystery surrounding Harrington's disappearance the night of Oct. 17 deepened last week when authorities in Virginia identified skeletal remains found in a remote field as the missing Virginia Tech junior.
"We were all hoping that they were going to find her safe and while we knew it would take a lot of work to get Morgan back to normal, we just wanted her to be alive," said Testerman. "We just wanted her to give us one of her big hugs that she's known for."
Testerman said she is particularly feeling the loss. She and Harrington were part of a close-knit group of girlfriends who called themselves "The Nine." Some of the girls even got the number nine tattooed on their bodies as a symbol of their friendship when they all went off to college. Now they are eight.
"We just hope that she didn't have to go through any pain and that her killer showed her mercy and that she's up above in heaven looking down on us," said Testerman.
In a chilling blog entry on Jan. 31 on a Web site dedicated to Harrington, the girl's father, Dan Harrington, wrote about retrieving his dead daughter's body after months of hoping she'd be found alive.
"How could someone have erased so much of what Morgan was and reduced her to a jumbled heap of bones?" wrote Dan Harrington. "Who would ever have thought it would be mine to see every image of Morgan's life – from her first faint shadows on fetal ultrasound to the gaping orbital hollows in her skull? An abomination to witness this ending."
The cause of death has not yet been determined, according to Corrine Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. No one has been named a person of interest or a suspect in Testerman's case either.
Few details have emerged about the night she went missing. Harrington had gone to a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville when she got separated from her friends, who believe she stepped outside for a smoke.
Harrington, who was wearing a black mini skirt, black tights and black boots as well as a black t-shirt with "Pantera" written on the front in tan letters, called her friends on a cell phone to say she was not allowed back inside.