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UNH coed was strangled or suffocated and knew her alleged killer

Union Leader Correspondent

October 15. 2012 11:20AM

DOVER - UNH student Elizabeth 'Lizzi' Marriott, 19, was strangled or suffocated Tuesday, the day she was last seen before heading to a friend's apartment in Dover, where police say she was killed.

Seth Mazzaglia, 29, who lived in that Mill Street apartment building, was charged with her death over the weekend and was arraigned Monday morning by video conference from the Strafford County House of Correction on a second-degree murder charge in Dover District Court. He was ordered held without bail. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29, and the judge entered no plea on his behalf today.

Police have been searching for Marriott's body on and around Peirce Island in Portsmouth, and they still have not found her. Assistant Attorney General James Vara said authorities 'are doing everything possible to find her body and follow up with any information we obtain.'

District Court Judge Stephen Morrison indicated Mazzaglia strangled or suffocated Marriott, and the police affidavit supporting Mazzaglia's arrest will be made available to defense attorneys but will not be made public.

Marriott, 19, a UNH sophomore studying marine biology, was last heard from Tuesday when she texted a friend that she was on her way to visit the friend on Mill Street.

Marriott, who is from Westborough, Mass., had been living with family members in Chester for just over a year while attending Manchester Community College. She transferred to UNH this semester. She was a sophomore in the College of Life Science and Agriculture, studying marine biology. She had just started her first semester after transferring this year from Manchester Community College.

At a press conference led by assistant Attorney General Jane Young Monday afternoon, authorities announced that the Dover Police Department is now leading the investigation, saying that the homicide occurred at Mazzaglia's apartment at 1 Mill St.

Young said the search for Marriot's body remains ongoing and may take several days due to the strong currents in the area of the Outlook at Peirce Island, which is the only place where authorities are searching. Young said authorities in Maine and Massachusetts have been notified of the search.

The N.H. Marine Patrol is looking specifically in the Outlook area using side sonar and an underwater camera. Authorities are exploring the possibility of bringing in dogs to help conduct the search.

Mazzaglia, described by those who knew him as a man with an 'odd' and 'quirky' side, is a 2006 UNH graduate who knew Marriott, authorities said.

Marriott's final text message was sent to a friend in Massachusetts around 8:55 p.m. Tuesday. In an interview Friday, her father, Bob Marriott, of Westborough, Mass., said the message said only that she was planning to visit a female friend at an apartment on Mill Street in Dover.

Mazzaglia listed 1 Mill Street, Apt. 341, as his address on a personal website.

At a news conference Saturday, Vara said Marriott knew Mazzaglia, but he declined to elaborate. Family and friends said Mazzaglia is connected to Marriott's friend in Dover. Marriott began working at Target in the summer, which is where she met the friend from Dover whom she was supposed to visit Tuesday night, according to family and friends. That friend recently quit her job at Target.

Marriott's 2001 tan-colored Mazda Tribute was discovered in a UNH parking lot Friday .

Residents at the Sawyer Mill apartment complex where Mazzaglia lived said police went through two different Dumpsters on the property between Friday night and Saturday and were also knocking on doors looking for any relevant information from residents.

Police had the hallway to Apartment 341 cordoned off on Saturday afternoon, and a police officer sat stationed outside the door as crime scene investigators came in and out of the apartment.

Several of Marriott's family, friends and others spent countless hours helping to organize volunteer searches from a command center at the police station in Chester, where Marriott was living with her aunt and uncle while commuting to UNH.

A candlelight vigil for Marriott was held Saturday night at the Bay State Commons in Westborough, where her parents still live. A moment of silence in Marriott's honor was also held at the beginning of the UNH men's hockey game on Saturday night.

Mazzaglia graduated from UNH in 2006 with degrees in theater and dance, but university officials said he does not currently study or work there.

Mazzaglia created his own website, since taken down, where he touted his theater work and spoke of his dreams of working in film. He said he had most recently performed as Captain Keller in the Garrison Player's production of 'The Miracle Worker.' Mazzaglia also listed special skills and talents that included juggling, flexibility and martial arts weapon skills.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dover Police.

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