Two families living just blocks from one another in Northfield, Minn., are reeling after one college student went missing in Eau Claire and another was brutally murdered in Arizona.
In just the past week, two teens who attended the same high school commencement two years ago ran into trouble at their colleges.
Becky Kasper, 19, was already considered a junior at Arizona State University because she was taking college-level classes full-time during her senior year in Minnesota. On Tuesday, her body was found in an apartment in Tempe, Ariz.
"It's a punch in the gut," said Northfield High School Principal Joel Leer. "We all take it personally because we have a personal connection to kids when they're here."
Students and staff at the school are dealing with a double-dose of tragedy because 20-year-old David Rodgers, now a sophomore attending the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, is missing; however, he is presumed to be the student seen falling into the Chippewa River on Friday night.
Both Rodgers and Kasper graduated in the Northfield class of 2011, and both were seen in the varsity football photo -- Rodgers on the team, and Kasper on the cheerleading squad.
"It's a loss of life, and that hits hard," said Leer. "When it hits twice in that close a proximity, it's difficult.."
Kasper's boyfriend, 22-year-old Luis Soltero, turned himself in to police in Tempe in connection with her death. He also had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning due to a failed suicide attempt.
Police found Kasper's handcuffed and decomposing body in the bathtub at Soltero's apartment. Investigators say her face was beaten so badly she was unrecognizable.
An unsigned note was found near her body, and it read as follows:
"She died on 4-20 not because of drugs, but because a sociopath talked and treated her nice. I did not treat her right. She deserved better but never accepted it, so I had to make the choice for her."
Kasper's father spoke to the media in Arizona, explaining that family members knew the two had broken up but never suspected she was in danger.
"She used the term 'bored,' bored in the relationship," said Dan Kasper. "She felt it was mutual. She seemed fine with it, and being the strong person that she is, we had to take her word."
Soltero remains in jail facing a first-degree murder charge. Meanwhile, the search for Rodgers is continuing in Eau Claire.