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Suspect charged in UNC student's death; second sought

  • Story Highlights
  • Demario James Atwater, 21, charged with first-degree murder
  • Police are also seeking Lawrence Alvin Lovett Jr., 17
  • Eve Carson was the popular student body president at the university
  • Police had released photos of person using victim's ATM card
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(CNN) -- One suspect has been charged and police are hunting for another in connection with the killing of University of North Carolina student Eve Carson, police said Wednesday.

Demario James Atwater, 21, was arrested early Wednesday at a residence in Durham, North Carolina.

Authorities were watching the home after receiving a tip that Atwater was inside.

He was charged with first-degree murder in Carson's death.

Atwater is believed to be the man in a convenience-store photograph released by police.

A second suspect, Lawrence Alvin Lovett Jr., 17, is being sought in Carson's death, police said.

He also faces a first-degree murder charge.

Lovett could be armed and dangerous, police told CNN affiliate WRAL.

Police believe Lovett was the man seen in a surveillance-camera photo possibly using Carson's card at an ATM, Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran said.

The pictures showed a young man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap. There also appeared to be a large, shadowy form of another person in the back seat of the vehicle, which may have been Carson's SUV.

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Police believe Atwater was in the back seat, Curran said.

He would not comment on whether physical evidence links the two suspects to the crime.

Atwater was taken to a hospital as part of the evidence collection process, he said, and brought back to make an initial court appearance.

"As encouraging as the developments today are, we are still a community in grief," Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy told reporters at a news conference announcing the arrest.

"We also still must offer comfort to a family in mourning, Eve's family."

Carson, 22, was found shot to death about 5 a.m. March 5. The medical examiner told police that her body showed no signs of sexual assault or other injury, Curran said.

Carson's killing "feels like a random crime," Curran said Saturday.

On Sunday, more than 1,000 people crowded the First United Methodist Church in Carson's hometown of Athens, Georgia, for her funeral, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.

The UNC-Chapel Hill board of trustees had pledged $25,000 to the Crime Stoppers program in the area for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible in Carson's slaying. Carson was a student member of the board and student body president.

The young woman was a pre-medicine student who was double majoring in political science and biology. She received the university's prestigious Morehead Scholarship and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, according to UNC. E-mail to a friend

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