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Lauren Ashley McCain

Lauren McCain, 20, was originally from Oklahoma but most recently lived in the Hampton, Va., area.

The freshman, who was an avowed Christian, planned to major in international studies.

Home-schooled, McCain had worked at a department store for about a year to save money for college.

Her uncle, Jeff Elliott, speaking to The Oklahoman newspaper, described her as an avid reader who was learning German and had almost mastered Latin.

She spent several years of her childhood in Oklahoma but her father's Navy career also took the family to Florida, Texas and then to Virginia.

"She had a brilliant mind just in the way she thought about things and the way she went about her work," said Gary Heatherly, a former youth minister at Portland, Tex., First Baptist Church.