Love's injuries: And why witnesses might have been confused
Among questions swirling in the wake of the so called UVA lacrosse killing is the confounding early report of possible alcohol poisoning allegedly made by the roommates who discovered the body of 22-year-old Yeardley Love, who now appears to have been beaten to death.
"City Police were called to 222 14th St. NW, apartment number 9, for a possible alcohol overdose," read the first official announcement of the incident, a press release from the City of Charlottesville to reporters at 9:40am Monday, May 3. Although the release did call the case a homicide investigation, many have expressed confusion over such vastly differing causes of death, particularly after a search warrant affadavit–- which led to the arrest of UVA men's lacrosse player George W. Huguely V–- revealed horrific details of what may have transpired.
Among the heinous-sounding elements: a "pool of blood on her pillow" and a hole in her bedroom door that appeared to have been created by a fist. Police would go on to list Love's injuries which included an eye swollen shut, scrapes on her chin, and a large contusion on the right side of her face.
Could the roommates really have called in a report of a fatally intoxicated friend?
Neither roommate has responded to the Hook's emailed request for comment, and the 911 call made by one of them at around 2:15 that morning will not be released until a trial, if ever, says Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo in a Wednesday interview.
Longo speculates one reason the roommates didn't immediately notice the extent of Love's injuries was that when they discovered her, she was face down. By the time police arrived, Longo explains, EMTs had turned Love onto her back to administer CPR and other lifesaving measures.
"The extent of her injuries was very obvious to us," says Longo, who has been interviewed extensively on various national news programs including The Today Show and Nancy Grace.
Asked by Grace if Love was clothed when police arrived, Longo paused briefly before declining to answer, citing sensitivity to Love's family.
Another possibility is that the roommates never did believe it was an alcohol overdose but that emergency responders–- told of an unresponsive student–- may have considered that to be the most likely scenario. It would not have been the first time they responded to such a call.
Just a month ago, fellow UVA fourth year and psychology major Joseph Luke Arwood, who, like Love, was due to graduate this year, was discovered unconscious inside his fraternity house, Sigma Phi (aka Serp), at 163 Rugby Avenue.
Hospitalized on Friday, April 2, the 21-year-old Arwood died two days later at UVA Hospital. Although no details about his condition or blood alcohol level prior to his death have been released, his death is mentioned on the homepage of the SEMS Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing alcohol abuse in college students.
UVA police, who handled that investigation, have not returned a reporter's call for comment, and a spokesperson at the chief medical examiner's office in Richmond says results of tests could take four to six months from the date of death.
Like many large universities, UVA has experienced several high-profile deaths attributed to alcohol. In March 2006, Matthew Pearlstone– a Cornell freshman visiting UVA friends–- died after a night of heavy drinking, and in 1997, 21-year-old UVA fourth year Leslie Anne Baltz fell down a staircase while intoxicated and died after hitting her head.
Longo says Love's roommates will be reinterviewed by police to determine exactly what they saw at the scene and in an effort to understand the events of the evening prior to Love's brutal killing.