Authorities are stepping up patrols near an area of Jefferson National Forest where two VA Tech students were found slain, during this first week of school.
A man walking his dog in the forest's parking lot section of the Caldwell Fields area, Blacksburg, Virginia, early Thursday, August 27, 2009, found the bodies. They were 19-year-old David Lee Metzler of Lynchburg and his girlfriend 18-year-old Heidi Lynn Childs of Forest.
When deputies arrived they found Metzler's body sitting in his car (a 1992 blue Toyota Camry), while Childs's body was on the ground nearby. The gravel parking lot of the campground and wildlife viewing area is popular among Virginia Tech students.
A suspect has not been identified.
Metzler was a sophomore industrial and systems engineering major and Childs, a sophomore biochemistry major.
Caldwell Fields is a peaceful area away from the hustle and bustle of campus life, a hangout site for students, especially on the weekends. Caldwell Fields is 15 miles west of Mason Cove and Hanging Rock, which are on Catawba Valley Drive, and five miles NW of Lafayette, which is on Interstate 81. The area where the students were killed is about 15 miles from the VA Tech campus.
The forest is technically named the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, consisting of two U.S. National Forests that combine to form one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. They cover 1.8 million acres (7,300 km²) of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
One victim's name Metzler has origins in German (Middle Rhineland), as an occupational name for a butcher, Middle High German metzeler, from Latin macellarius "dealer in meat," from macellum "stall (at a market)," "meat market."
In a statement released from the Virginia State Police, it has been learned that Childs is the daughter of a state police sergeant.
It reads in part… "Tonight, the Virginia State Police grieves with Sgt. Donald Childs and his family during this deeply difficult and painful time."
Childs, home-schooled in Abingdon, moved to Forest, Virginia, with her family about four years ago. Her father, Sgt. Donald Childs, has been a helicopter pilot with the Virginia State Police for 20 years. She had seven siblings, and fell somewhere in the middle.
Childs had met Metzler at Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Autopsies were being performed, but Montgomery County Sheriff Lt. Brian Wright said both students appear to have been shot sometime late Wednesday night (August 26) or early Thursday morning (August 27).
Heritage Baptist Church pastor Gerald Kroll said Friday, August 28, 2009, both had been active in the church for a long time and were members of Campus Crusade for Christ.
Two years ago, on April 16, 2007, a student gunman killed 32 others and then himself. On January 21, 2009, a doctoral student beheaded a fellow student in a campus cafe in the Graduate Life Center.
As blogger Thuth has previously pointed out in his research:
The northwestern corner of Virginia Tech is located upon an old historic site called Draper’s Meadow - bordered on the south by Stroubles (Troubles?) Creek...On July 8, 1755 a group of Shawnee Indians entered the sparsely populated settlement and brutally killed five of the settlers that lived there in what eventually came to be known as the Draper’s Meadow Massacre. Draper’s Meadow became the town of Blacksburg. The incredible synch here is that one of the settlers that was killed – the oldest of the five, one Philip Barger, was decapitated by the Shawnee. They put his head in a bag and sent it to a neighbor, telling them a friend had come to visit.
Today, few at Blacksburg, Virginia's well-known university are aware of this history. The community members have their hands full dealing with current unfortunate traumatic events, of course. Nevertheless, the past is prologue to the future.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." ~ George Santayana.
"I shall be accused of having assembled lies, yarns, hoaxes, and superstitions. To some degree I think so, myself. To some degree I do not. I offer the data." ~ Charles Fort.
Credit: Gary Varvel