Investigation continues as UNC mourns Carson

March 5, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Students and faculty are mourning the death of a young woman who was known as a leader.

Eve Carson, 22, was the student body president and a senior at the UNC Chapel Hill campus.

Carson's body was found Wednesday in a neighborhood near the university. It was not until Thursday that the public learned her name.

Carson was last seen alive at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, when she stayed home to do schoolwork while her roommates went out, authorities said.

Only half of the murder mystery has been solved. Now police are focusing their investigation on her SUV.

Carson's blue 2005 Toyota Highlander was found Thursday after police received a call from a Chapel Hill resident. The SUV was located on North Street near Hillsborough Street in Chapel Hill.

The vehicle is being processed and police say they have no suspects.

Her murder stunned people living in the Davie Circle community. Police called the area an unlikely place for a violent crime to occur. Even the town's mayor reflected on the tragedy.

"She was happy, vivacious, intelligent, engaged, and a presence in our community, who's absence leaves a permanent void," Mayor Kevin Foy said.

N.C. Governor Mike Easley expressed a similar sentiment in the statment he released. "I join the entire UNC community in mourning the tragic death of Eve Carson. There are few other words that can express the sorrow of such a promising life ended so soon and so violently. I am in communication with the president of the university and I have assured him that we will provide all the resources necessary to tend to emotional needs of the students and pursue an aggressive investigation."

At the request of the UNC-Chapel Hill student body, Easley ordered all state flags on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus lowered to half-staff in memory of Eve Carson.

A huge crowd of students and faculty gathered on the campus for a candle-light vigil to mourn Carson's death Thursday evening.

"I just think that the turnout here tonight shows what an impact Eve had on each of our lives," UNC student Sarah Murray said.

The student government wanted to organize the vigil to honor Carson before students leave for spring break. Plans for a more formal memorial are underway.

The university is providing grief counseling to student and faculty.

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said Duke's counseling and student affairs staffs are working with their counterparts at Chapel Hill to offer whatever services we can.

"The hearts of everyone at Duke are with our colleagues at Chapel Hill at this hard time," Brodhead said.

Police say Carson was identified Thursday morning at the medical examiner's officer after a tip was called in to police.

With the deadly shooting happening in a quiet community during pre-dawn hours, investigators know their biggest lead my come from the car.

"At this point, I'm thinking that this, what it feels like is a fairly random crime," Chief Curran said. "As I said earlier, I don't know that for sure."

Carson made significant strides in student government

Last month, Eyewitness News' Sabrina Zimring interviewed Carson at a meeting on UNC's campus.

She was there representing her student body, fighting against tuition rate hikes at state schools.

When Zimring heard the news of Carson's murder, she immediately remembered her meeting with the student leader.

Zimring said Carson stood out to her in the crowd of students that day. She was perhaps the most well spoken student Zimring had ever encountered.

"I felt the passion she had for her school," Zimring said. "And today, doing a quick search on the Internet, it's not hard to see Eve Carson made a big impact on her campus and her community."

Just a year ago, UNC Chapel Hill students elected Carson to represent them as their student body president.

VIDEOS OF EVE CARSON

"I, Eve Carson, do protect, honor and defend," she said. Watch video of Carson's inauguration here.

She was a friendly, warm face welcoming back her fellow students at the start of the 2007 school year.

"If you're a returning student, can't wait to see you again," Carson told the student body. "If you're a new student, welcome to the Carolina family." Watch video of the welcome here

And she always offered an open door.

"I personally invite you to come hang out with me," Carson said. "I spend a lot of time in this office and I love saying hi to people." Watch the video here.

And with only one month left as UNC's student body president, she was wrapping up a successful year, making significant strides in student government in addition to academic strides.

Carson came to Carolina on the prestigious Morehead Scholarship.

She was a senior studying to be a doctor double majoring in biology and political science. It was her passion -- she spent her summers volunteering, working with doctors in Ecuador and Egypt.

Her service extended across the world and across the Triangle.

On campus, she was involved in Nourish International, as organization started by UNC students fighting for hunger relief. She also worked as a teacher and a tutor in local schools, encouraging young students to study science.

Carson's list of accomplishments and activities it too long to list. She has left footprints on the campus and in the hearts of the students at UNC.


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