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Yeardley Love: UVA Lacrosse Player Slain

May 4, 2010

A player for the University of Virginia’s nationally ranked men’s lacrosse team was arrested Monday in connection with the slaying of a member of the women’s lacrosse team.

George Huguely, a 22-year-old from Chevy Chase, Md., has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old from Cockeysville, Md.

Friends and teammates described Love, a fourth-year government major and Spanish minor, as an “angel,” UVa officials said Monday afternoon. Love was a midfielder for UVa’s varsity lacrosse team and a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

“The reaction [is that] of losing a loved one — mourning, grieving, a feeling of disbelief,” UVa Athletics Director Craig Littlepage said. “How could this happen to such a wonderful person? A person who was described as an angel by her teammates and friends.”

Huguely, a fourth-year anthropology major at UVa, is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Huguely and Love had a relationship in the past, police said, but it was unclear Monday if they were romantically involved at the time of her death.

Charlottesville police officers and rescue personnel were sent to Love’s apartment at 222 14th St. N.W. after one of her two roommates called the city’s emergency dispatcher at 2:15 a.m. Monday to report that Love was suffering from a possible alcohol overdose.

“It was quickly apparent to them that this young lady was the victim of something far worse,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said.

The first responders found Love unresponsive in her bedroom and noticed obvious signs of physical trauma. They sought to revive her but were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

A cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is performed, police said.

Longo declined to provide additional details about Love’s injuries.

He said, however, that no weapon was apparently used in the homicide. “To my knowledge, there is no weapon involved,” he said.

More than a dozen UVa students who live nearby Love’s apartment told The Daily Progress that they did not see or hear anything out of the ordinary late Sunday or early Monday.

Throughout the night and morning, detectives and forensic investigators searched Love’s apartment for evidence and conducted interviews with friends, neighbors, teammates and acquaintances.

“Fairly quickly,” Longo said, “George Huguely … became the focus of our investigation.”

Investigators found Huguely at his apartment, located near Love’s apartment on 14th Street. He voluntarily met with the investigators at the city police department.

“At some point thereafter probable cause developed, which resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant charging him with 1st Degree Murder,” Longo wrote in an e-mail.

Police declined to say exactly what led them to Huguely. Longo said he does not believe additional people will be charged.

A call to Huguely’s father in Maryland was not immediately returned.

Leonard W. Sandridge, UVa’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the university community was “shocked and saddened at the news of Miss Love’s death at the hands of a murderer.” UVa’s community is particularly troubled, he said, because “one of our own” has been charged in the homicide.

“This is something that will take our community a long time to deal with,” he said.

UVa President John T. Casteen III said in a statement that he hopes Love is remembered for her talents and her potential, not for the way she died.

“However little we may not know now about Yeardley Love’s death, we do know that she did not have or deserve to die — that she deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player,” Casteen said. “She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and not for the terrible way in which her young life has ended.”

Casteen said he knows of no explanation for what happened to Love.

“This death moves us to deep anguish for the loss of a student of uncommon talent and promise, and we express the university’s and our own sympathy for Yeardley’s family, teammates, and friends,” he said. “That she appears now to have been murdered … compounds this sense of loss by suggesting that Yeardley died without comfort or consolation from those closest to her. We mourn her death and feel anger on reading that the investigators believe that another student caused it.”

Love is the seventh UVa student who has died this academic year. A typical year, UVa officials said, might see the death of three or four students. Love is the only homicide of the seven UVa student deaths.

Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, however, was killed after attending a Metallica concert at UVa’s John Paul Jones Arena in October.

Love’s death is not the first loss of a UVa lacrosse player in recent years. Former team captain Will Barrow died in 2008 in an apparent suicide at his apartment in Charlottesville.

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