Teen slain at school


CONWAY, S.C. (AP) – An 18-year-old was stabbed to death in a school parking lot as she and other students were arriving for class Thursday, police said.

Students and school employees saw the attack shortly before 8 a.m. in a lot shared by Carolina Forest Middle School and Carolina Forest High School, police said. A 24-year-old man was arrested in the attack shortly afterward.

The victim, Natalia A. Holmes, attended Carolina Forest High, authorities said. She died at a hospital a little more than a half hour after the stabbing.

Edwin L. Cornelius of Aynor was arrested and charged after the slaying, said prosecutor Fran Humphries. He said Cornelius had waived bail and would remain jailed until a grand jury convenes this summer.

Both schools were locked down, though classes remained in session.

One parent, Nadine Civitella, 40, said she decided to leave her two children at the schools after a principal told her “it was a domestic situation.”

Police Sgt. Bob Carr said he could not verify that. “We are still investigating the incident and have a number of people to interview,” he said.

But he added that investigators believe it was an isolated incident: “At no point was anyone in danger at the high school.”

Sixth-grader Chizo Ekechukwu said she was outside and saw the body before her father came to get her.

“People were crying and freaking out. A lot were going home,” she said.

Edward Boyd, spokesman for the Horry County School District, said Holmes was a recent transfer student from California.

“This incident is absolutely a tragedy,” Boyd said, “but I don’t think there is anything the school could have done to avoid it.”

Grief counselors were summoned to the schools, he added.

Conway is about 15 miles from Myrtle Beach.

Associated Press Writers Katrina Jackson and Susanne Schafer in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

AP-ES-05-18-06 2208EDT