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Missing NH college student presumed dead, suspect charged

This phoprovided by Dover (N.H.) Police Dept. shows Seth Mazzaglia. Authorities say Elizabeth 'Lizzi' Marriott  19-year-old University New Hampshire

This photo provided by the Dover (N.H.) Police Dept. shows Seth Mazzaglia. Authorities say Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student missing for days is dead, and Mazzaglia has been charged with second-degree murder, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Dover (N.H.) Police Dept.)

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Updated: October 13, 2012 3:58PM

DOVER, N.H. — A martial arts instructor active in community theater was charged Saturday in the death of a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student who disappeared days earlier.

Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott is believed to be dead but law enforcement officials continued to search for her body, Assistant Attorney General James Vara said Saturday. Her car was found in a parking lot on campus in Durham.

Police charged Seth Mazzaglia, 29, of Dover, with second-degree murder, but Vara declined to say how the two knew each other or what led to his arrest.

Authorities had been searching for a body on Peirce Island in Portsmouth, on the New Hampshire coast about 12 miles southeast of Dover, since Friday night.

Lizzi Marriott’s grandmother, Susan Marriott, was tending the phone at the Chester home where her granddaughter lives on Friday while other family members were out handing out fliers and searching for her.

“She is a good student and she’s hard-working,” her grandmother said. “She is a person that doesn’t have a multitude of friends but she has good friends, a small group of good friends.”

She said the FBI and other investigators were at the house for much of the day interviewing family members.

Marriott was a 2011 graduate of Westborough High School in Massachusetts. She lived with an aunt in Chester and commuted to the Durham campus. A message seeking comment was left with her parents, Robert and Melissa Marriott of Westborough, Mass.

Mazzaglia, a University of New Hampshire graduate, was active in the arts, performing in dozens of plays and musicals over the last decade in southern New Hampshire. He was recently cast in a production by Garrison Players Arts Center in Rollinsford, N.H.

On his website, Mazzaglia described himself as having a black belt in Karate and being familiar with several forms of martial arts and weapons. He also described other interests, including juggling.

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