Friends of Elizabeth Marriott were deeply saddened and shocked after they learned Saturday afternoon that the University of New Hampshire student had been murdered and that her body had not been recovered yet.
Dawn Downey of Westborough, Mass., and her daughter, Nicole, one of Marriott's closest childhood friends, along with Michelle Hunter, Nicole Downey's aunt, were present when NH Assistant Attorney General James Vara revealed to the media that Marriott had been murdered by Seth Mazzaglia, 29, of Dover and that her body had still not been located.
"Sickness" is how Dawn Downey described her reaction to hearing the news.
"I was reluctant to believe anything until I heard it just now," said Nicole, who added that she and Marriott had been best friends since they were pre-schoolers in Westborough, Mass.
The last time she heard from Marriott was on Tuesday night when she talked with her about the class she just completed at UNH before she headed to Dover to meet some friends at their apartment, said Nicole Downey.
Dawn Downey said Marriott told her daughter that she was on her way to visit two people named Cat and Nate who she had worked with at Target in Greenland. Downey said those two people had recently quit their jobs and Marriott went to visit them.
"She was too trusting," said Dawn Downey.
Nicole Downey also believes that whoever killed her friend must have surprised her because she recalled that Marriott was pretty strong whenever they had fights growing up. "She must have been caught off guard," she said.
As far as Dawn Downey knows, Marriott didn't have any kind of relationship with Mazzaglia, who is scheduled to be arraigned on the second-degree murder charge in Dover District Court on Monday.
As they struggled with their grief and fought back their tears of anguish, Nicole Downey said she wanted people to know that Marriott was a wonderful person. "She was one of those kids who was friendly with everybody."
She also said that Marriott was their high school prom queen and recalled, "She was the best."
Dawn Downey said she always enjoyed it whenever Marriott came to her house growing up. "She had such a smile on her face and she always let me know she was hungry and she would say, 'give me that chocolate.' She loved her snacks."
Downey said she and her daughter and Hunter planned to return to Westborough to see Marriott's parents, Robert and Melissa, who decided not to travel to New Hampshire this weekend.
Dawn Downey said that if Mazzaglia did in fact murder Marriott, she hopes he tells police more about what he did with her body so they can find her "and we can bring her home."