HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) Investigators on Saturday removed the body of a young woman found in a crawl space at an apartment building where a missing Marshall University student lived, authorities said.
Officials have not identified the body but believe it is that of Leah Hickman, 21, a journalism student who has been missing since December 14th. The body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Charleston for an autopsy.
``Although we strongly believe the body is that of Leah Hickman, a positive identification will be made by the medical examiner,'' Lt. Rocky Johnson said in a statement.
Johnson described the death as an apparent homicide, The Herald-Dispatch reported.
Police have released few details about the case, though Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Friday night that there are no suspects. The agency planned an update about the case for Monday.
Marshall University spokesman Bill Bissett declined to comment until a positive identification is released.
Authorities searching for evidence found the body on Friday in a crawl space of a common laundry room in the basement of the four-unit building. The news cast a somber tone over a concert to raise a reward fund.
Hickman's stepbrother Nicholas Russell left immediately after hearing the news, according to Jason McCoy, who said he attended Point Pleasant High School with Hickman.
``I can't believe how they found her, my heart just goes out to them,'' McCoy said.
The concert however went on as planned. ``We just wanted to do a performance in memory of her,'' said performer Derek Newell, another former high school classmate.
After visiting with Hickman's family, Huntington Mayor David Felinton told newspaper that they appreciate the community's support.
``Her family is certainly in our prayers and particularly at this time of year,'' he said.