The slayings of two Virginia Tech students found in the Jefferson National Forest are being investigated by authorities in Montgomery County, Va.
Montgomery Sheriff's Lt. Brian Wright said David Lee Metzler, 19, and Heidi Lynn Childs, 18, were found by a man walking his dog around 8 a.m. Thursday at the Caldwell Fields campgrounds. Both appear to have been shot, but Wright wouldn't say how many times or where.
Wright said Metzler's body was found inside a car and Childs was found outside. They were in a parking lot at a section of the forest that is a popular hangout for Virginia Tech students. Police are stepping up patrols in that area.
Both were taken to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke for autopsies.
The deaths are being considered a double homicide. Lt. Brian Wright told WSLS reporter Ashley Roberts that it appears to be a random act. A suspect has not been identified.
"They were found early this morning by a passerby near the Caldwell Fields area of northern Montgomery County, a popular day use area within the Jefferson Forest, about 12-15 miles from campus," Tech President Charles Steger said in a letter to the university.
Police said both students lived off campus. Metzler was a sophomore from Lynchburg majoring in industrial engineering. Childs was a sophomore from Forest studying biochemistry.
"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?"
Metzler and Childs, who were in a relationship according to Roberts, had been active in the Heritage Baptist Church for a long time and were members of Campus Crusade for Christ, pastor Gerald Kroll said.