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Texas art student's slaying flies under media radar

  • Story Highlights
  • Samantha Michelle Nance, 20, stabbed to death in Texas
  • She was a third-year student at Art Institute of Dallas
  • Nance's case has received little attention outside Dallas
By Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- She was a promising college student, a young woman with talent whose brutal killing shocked a campus community.

Her name is Samantha Michelle Nance.

Unlike the recent high-profile homicide of Yale University graduate student Annie Le, the death of the 20-year-old Dallas woman, known as Shelley to her friends, has captured virtually no media attention outside Texas.

Nance, a third-year student at the Art Institute of Dallas, was found stabbed to death Saturday in her apartment.

She was majoring in animation, with about a year to go before getting her bachelor's degree, said Sarah Stockton, public relations director at the school.

The institute is "a design, media arts, fashion and culinary post-secondary school," according to its Web site.

"She was a very talented animation student," Stockton said. "She actually won a scholarship for her work when she was still in high school." Nance beat out about 60 other applicants to win the partial scholarship to the institute, Stockton said.

She was a fan of Vincent van Gogh and author Frank Beddor, according to her personal Web page on the deviantArt site.

Her apartment was in Dallas' northeastern Lake Highlands neighborhood in a building complex home to dozens of students from the institute. "They have security there," Stockton said.

Dallas police said officers were asked to investigate after Nance had not been seen for several days.

Sgt. Eugene Reyes said officers entered her apartment Saturday and found her body.

"She had multiple stab wounds," Reyes said. The police report indicates Nance was "stabbed with an unknown cutting tool."

Nance, who was from Italy, Texas, will be laid to rest Thursday. The school will hold a memorial service Friday.

In a statement, the institute said that "Samantha made many close friends during her time at the Art Institute, and she will be missed very much by students, faculty and staff."

Reyes said officers are in the process of interviewing people. "We have a couple of people we are pretty interested in," he said. "We are waiting for DNA."

He also revealed that while police haven't identified a suspect, homicide detectives believe the killer knew the victim.

The Art Institute is making grief counselors available to students, noting, "This is a hard time for everyone and there can be a range of emotions that are felt."

Stockton added a bulletin board has been set up for anyone to post memories of Nance. She said the remembrances will be given to her family.

"She was a great student, always came to class, always involved on campus," Stockton said. "It's just a tragedy."

All About Murder and HomicideDallas (Texas)

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