Tar Heel Victim ID'd as Student Body Head

North Carolina campus mourns as cops probe what may have been a random crime.

March 7, 2008 — -- Authorities in Chapel Hill recovered slain UNC student body president Eve Carson's car Thursday afternoon, but still have no suspects in what authorities say was likely a random crime.

The blue 2005 Toyota Highlander was parked on a street about a mile from where Carson was found fatally shot Wednesday morning. Authorities will process the car for evidence with the hope that it provides some insight into a crime that has stunned students and staff on the University of North Carolina campus.

"We would particularly be interested in talking with anyone who may have seen this vehicle between the hours of 1:30 a.m. yesterday [Wednesday] and midday today [Thursday]," Chapel Hill police wrote in a release.

Authorities said at a press conference Friday that two 911 calls came in Wednesday morning about shots fired near the off-campus area where Carson's body was found. They also will work to obtain access to Carson's cell phone records, look into credit card transactions and analyze Carson's computer, Auburn police chief Brian Curran said.

Carson, a 22-year-old senior, was identified Thursday as the victim in the shooting, which took place around 5 a.m. Wednesday near the university campus. She was last seen at 1:30 a.m., when she passed on a night out with friends.

Carson had been shot several times, including at least once in the head. A medical examiner found that she had not been sexually assaulted.

"I am so sorry to tell you that Chapel Hill police have identified the victim of this week's shooting as Eve Carson," chancellor James Moeser wrote in a message to students and staff Thursday, "our student body president, trustee, wonderful person and great friend."

Crowds gathered at Chapel Hill Thursday afternoon and again in the evening to remember Carson, who was elected student body president in February 2007. Counseling has been made available to students.

A biography posted on the UNC Web site describes Carson as a native of Athens, Ga., who came to Chapel Hill in 2004 on a scholarship. The Phi Beta Kappa student was pre-medicine majoring in political science and biology. She spent time teaching locally in Chapel Hill and Durham, studied abroad in Havana, Cuba, and visited Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana as part of summer enrichment programs.

"We want to establish predictable tuition and make student government effective and exciting," Carson said the night of her election victory. "We want students to know that they have the power."

Carson was also the 2004 valedictorian at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga. A man answering the phone at her Athens home declined comment.

The fatal shooting at UNC occurred hours after 18-year-old Lauren Burk was shot and killed just off the Auburn University campus in Alabama.

In that case, Burk was found by police Tuesday night a half-hour before her car was discovered in a campus parking lot on fire. The fire was extinguished but no one was in the car.

As in Carson's killing, Auburn police have not named a suspect in Burk's fatal shooting.

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