Missing NH college student dead; Suspect charged

This photo provided by the Dover (N.H.) Police Dept. shows Seth Mazzaglia.
AP Photo/Dover (N.H.) Police Dept.

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

A family friend, Dawn Downey of Westborough, described Marriott as a beautiful young woman who was active in chorus in high school and was prom queen during her junior year. Marriott was helping to put herself through college by working at Target.

"She was just a good girl. That's probably what got her in trouble. She was too trusting and she was beautiful. Those two things will kill you," she said.

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 several dozen 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.