The graduation celebration of an Ohio teenager was abruptly overshadowed by a grim tragedy. Natalie Martin, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, was found lifeless in a South Carolina hotel room, allegedly strangled by her ex-boyfriend, Blake William Linkous.
Linkous, also 18, now faces murder charges following Martin’s death. The incident occurred in a hotel on Maison Drive in Myrtle Beach on June 7, according to local reports. The teenagers were from Roseville, Ohio, with Martin journeying to the seaside city to commemorate her graduation from Philo High School.
After the incident, Horry County Police apprehended Linkous, who stands accused of intentionally causing Martin’s death and deserting her afterwards. The former couple, both Philo High alumni, had been in a relationship for a few years before parting ways recently, a mutual friend shared with local news outlets.
Remnants of happier times pepper both teenagers’ social media accounts, with numerous photographs capturing their shared memories. Among these is a portrait of the pair on the way to their prom, posted by Linkous just a month ago.
Linkous, at the time of this report, remains in detention without bail, while back home in Roseville, the community plans to gather on Philo High School’s soccer field on June 15 for a candlelight vigil in Martin’s memory.
In a show of support, donations to a GoFundMe page set up for Martin’s family have already surpassed double the original $15,000 goal.