On Friday, September 21, a jury recommended Natalie Keepers, 19, be jailed for 40 years after she was convicted of being an accessory before the fact in Nicole's murder.
The schoolgirl sneaked out of her bedroom window in Blacksburg, Virginia in January 2016 to go and meet a mystery man she had met through the instant messaging app Kik.
Our cameras were shut off for the defense’s third and final witness. She testified she would speak with Eisenhauer over “kik” and he mentioned plans to kill Lovell. She testified he mentioned spoke with another friend about this. Never mentioned name, gender or Keepers.— Cynthia Beasley (@CynthiaABC13) 20 September 2018
She was murdered and her naked body dumped over the state line in North Carolina.
Killer Jailed for Half a Century
David Eisenhauer, 18, pleaded no contest to murder and kidnapping and was jailed for 50 years.
Keepers had denied any involvement but her trial heard they had discussed on Kik how he would kill Nicole
The case has raised concerns in the United States about the vulnerability of children — especially teenage girls, like Nicole.
Kik which was founded in Canada in 2009, has 300 million users worldwide.
In September 2017 former Congressman Anthony Weiner was jailed for 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to sexting a 15-year-old girl using Kik.
“I have no words to adequately describe my sorrow for your family,” Tim Keepers’ said to Nicole Lovells’ family. Keepers’ parents asked for mercy from the jury. They say they pray for Lovells’ entire family. pic.twitter.com/b45Kazz8m3— Cynthia Beasley (@CynthiaABC13) 21 September 2018
Weiner, the estranged husband of Hillary Clinton's former aide Huma Abedin, wept during the sentencing hearing.
There are growing fears about the app — which is available on most iPhones and Android devices — being used by pedophiles in Europe.
Kik Linked to Child Abuse in UK
On Friday, September 21, an application under the Freedom of Information Act revealed 1,147 investigations into child sexual exploitation or grooming in the UK had involved Kik.
British police officers investigating alleged abuse on Kik have to go through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, a complex legal process, to gain access to material held by the app company at their headquarters in Ontario.
Nicole Madison Lovell died Jan. 27, 2016. She was 13 years old and a student at Blacksburg Middle School. pic.twitter.com/gluLMMYZ81— Tonia Moxley (@ReporterToniaM) 21 September 2018
"It's incredibly frustrating. We're banging our heads against a brick wall," PC Jason Cullum from Northamptonshire Police's pedophile online investigation team told the BBC.
Kik said it would release "limited basic subscriber data" but only if there was an "imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to any person."
Kik has so far not introduced any new security measures in the wake of the Nicole Lovell case.
Nicole was a lonely and depressed 13-year-old who suffered from low self-esteem and spent a lot of time on social media.
Here are some of the statements from the closing arguments from both the Commonwealth and Natalie Keepers defense. pic.twitter.com/BZNdJTC7I2— Sophia Borrelli (@sophiaborrelli) 20 September 2018
It was through Kik she met Eisenhauer, a freshman engineering student at Virginia Tech, who pretended to be interested in her emotionally.
Killer Used Kik Username Dr_Tombstone
His Kik name was Dr_Tombstone.
One cold January night Nicole sneaked out of her bedroom for a midnight assignation with Eisenhauer. It was not the first time they had met and it is thought they may have had a sexual relationship.
Eisenhauer killed her and buried her body.
When Nicole did not return after a few days investigators pored through evidence in her bedroom.
Your privacy is personal — that’s why we’re introducing direct message controls to give you more power over your experience in public groups! Read more on our blog, and update Kik to get the feature now! https://t.co/t0CwKzNlJs pic.twitter.com/iS6kezNxEK— Kik (@Kik) 28 August 2018
They found she had handwritten the usernames and passwords to all her social media accounts on her bedroom wall, including Kik.
FBI computer forensics experts established she had used Kik a lot, keeping her true identity and age a secret.
Parents Unaware Of App's Dark Secrets
Her parents knew nothing about her Kik secrets.
Eisenhauer killed Nicole because he thought she might tell someone they had sex, which could lead to him going to jail for statutory rape.
He told Keepers about it and they discussed how to dispose of Nicole.
"Grab her from behind, cover her mouth and slit her throat," was the "official plan" concocted by Eisenhauser.
In February, Keepers’ co-defendant, David Edmond Eisenhauer, 21, of Columbia, Maryland, pleaded no contest to charge of first-degree murder and concealing a body. Judge Bobby Turk convicted and sentenced Eisenhauer to 50 years in prison, with another 25 years suspended.— Tonia Moxley (@ReporterToniaM) 18 September 2018
At last week's sentencing hearing Nicole's mother gave an emotional victim impact statement to the jury.
"A couple of years from now, a couple of months from now, ya'll will all forget about this, but this will forever haunt my family," said Tammy Weeks-Doody.
Keepers will be formally sentenced in November.