Murder of Student Samantha Shrestha Leaves Va. Tech Reeling

Did a fellow student kill Samantha Shrestha?

ByABC News
February 13, 2014, 8:25 AM

Feb. 13, 2014 — -- Virginia Tech's campus is reeling after a senior biology major was killed and a fellow student was charged in her murder.

Police say Samantha Shrestha, 21, was reported missing after her parents couldn't reach her. In a phone interview with ABC News, Shrestha's mother said she quickly became worried.

"Something was wrong; that was my immediate reaction," said the mother, Rajshree Shrestha. "Me and my husband said, 'This is not right.'"

Within 24 hours of the time Shrestha's parents asked Blacksburg, Va., police to check on the aspiring doctor, a homicide investigation was begun, according to police.

Investigators found Shrestha's car abandoned on the side of the road on Monday. Her body was in the back seat wrapped in a sleeping bag, police said, according to court documents obtained by the Roanoke Times.

Following the discovery, fellow student Jessica Ewing, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Virginia Tech graduate Keifer Brown, a friend of Ewing's, was also arrested, as well as Michael Heller. Brown, charged as an accessory after the fact, and Heller were accused of helping to cover up the crime.

Ewing, Brown and Heller have not entered pleas. Attorneys did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

Lt. Nathan O'Dell of the Blacksburg Police Department declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, but told ABC News, "We lost a very beautiful and intelligent person from our community and the Blacksburg Police will be very thorough and meticulous with our investigation to ensure the three we have charged are convicted in connection with this murder."

Investigators have not said if a motive has been determined.

Shrestha, known as "Sam," was a well-liked student with a 3.9 GPA who was studying to be a doctor.

Shortly before her death, she had received exciting news.

"Her dream had been fulfilled," her mother said. "She wanted to become a doctor and she has been accepted to the Penn State College of Medicine."

The death has shaken the campus community. Shrestha's classmates were organizing a candlelight vigil in her honor, and a memorial fundraiser was being set up to benefit an organization where she volunteered.

ABC News' Dan Good contributed to this report.