Police are revealing more details about the circumstances surrounding a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student’s death along the banks of the Catawba River.
Mount Holly Police Chief David Belk said Irinia Yarmolenko’s car, which she was found lying next to, was left running at some point. He also said the State Bureau of Investigation plans to provide more agents to help question people about her disappearance and her death.
Belk said surveillance video from the University area credit union and Goodwill that Yarmolenko visited Monday of last week shows that the 20-year-old was alone and wasn't followed.
Hours later, two jet skiers spotted her body next to the car. It hit a stump at the river's edge in a remote area behind the Stowe Family YMCA.
Brenda Pierce and Dennis Lovelace took Eyewitness News back to that spot Wednesday morning. Pierce said she is dogged by questions about who killed Yarmolenko.
"When we come by here," she said, "it's going to always . . . the questions, until they are answered, are going to be in my mind and her face is going to be in my mind."
Wiping a tear, she said it was a beautiful day that shouldn't have ended with murder.
Her boyfriend, Dennis Lovelace, said the moment he saw Yarmolenko he knew it wasn't an accidental death.
"I knew she was dead and I knew it was a crime scene,” he said.
He said he saw depressed grass around the area where the girls body was found. He said he believes there was a fierce struggle there.
"I can visualize her fighting for her life on this river bank right here until someone, whoever he was, killed her," he said.
The couple stood arm in arm on a pontoon boat yards from the fatal scene. They said they wondered whether they could have saved her if they had gotten there earlier.
Pierce asked, "Where did the perpetrator go? Which way did he leave? Those questions until they are answered are going to be in my mind."
In Their Own Words: Couple Talks About Finding Body Of UNCC Student