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University of VirginiaYeardley Love was just 22 years old and a well-liked lacrosse player when her boyfriend allegedly beat her to death. As thousands of her teammates and other fellow students gathered for a candlelight vigil in her remembrance on Wednesday night, University President John C. Casteen III urged the group not to ignore signs of abuse in their own relationships or in the relationships of people they know. In her honor, the university is also granting Love a posthumous degree with the rest of her class as she was expected to graduate this May.

Charlottesville police launched an investigation after Love’s bloody and beaten body was discovered on Monday morning in her off-campus apartment. Since that time, police charged her ex-boyfriend, varsity men’s lacrosse player George Huguely with her murder. Though Huguely was a good-looking, All-American athlete, he nevertheless had a torrid and violent past with Love. For example, as police pressed on with their investigation, they discovered that he had resisted arrest during a 2008 incident, including hurling racial and sexual epithets at the arresting officer. Eventually, the officer was forced to use her taser gun on the 6’2”, 209-pound Huguely. Consequently, he was charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and public swearing. More disturbing, however, was the history of apparent violence between Huguely and Love—police have reportedly seized a red-stained lacrosse shirt from Huguely’s aparment, as well as a shower curtain and love letter addressed to Love. Police believe that Huguely thought he could get away with the crime because of his celebrity-like status as a lacrosse player on the #1 college team in the country.

According to official reports, Love’s body was found after an early morning 911 call, with her face buried in a pillow, surrounded by a pool of blood. Her face was covered in scrapes and bruises, her right eye was swollen shut, and the right side of her face appeared to have suffered blunt force trauma. Huguely waived his Miranda rights upon his arrest and admitted that he had kicked in the door of Love’s bedroom and shook her violently, repeatedly banging her head against the wall. He has also withdrawn from the university.

If you or someone you know is currently involved in an abusive relationship, please tell someone before it’s too late. There are various resources available in Michigan to go for help or for safety.

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