Virginia Tech Students Found Slain In Forest

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Two Virginia Tech University students were found slain Thursday at a Jefferson National Forest campground that is a popular hangout for students, authorities said.

The latest killings are hitting a campus still reeling from the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and the beheading of a student earlier this year.

The bodies of David Lee Metzler, 19, of Lynchburg and Heidi Lynn Childs, 18, of Forest were found by a passerby, Montgomery County Sheriff Lt. Brian Wright said. Both appear to have been shot, he said. Wright said Metzler’s body was found inside a car in the parking area of the Caldwell Fields campground and Childs was found outside the car. The campground is about 15 miles from Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg.

A suspect has not been identified and autopsies were being conducted in Roanoke.

Metzler was a sophomore industrial and systems engineering major and Childs, a sophomore biochemistry major.

In an e-mail to students and staff, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger again was counseling his campus community. Two years ago, a student gunman killed 32 others and himself. In January, a doctoral student beheaded a fellow student in a campus cafe.

“Trauma like this is deeply painful to us all,” Steger wrote. “Once again, this community is visited by senseless violence and tragedy upon aspiring young minds from our campus.

“I know that many of you likely have complex feelings about now. How can this happen in this area, at this time, to this community?”

Steger said the university would post information about memorial services on its Web site.

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