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Ohio Teen Allegedly Strangled to Death by Ex-Boyfriend on Post-High School Graduation Trip
An Ohio community is "shocked with disbelief" after recent high school graduate Natalie Martin was strangled to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, on a senior trip to Myrtle Beach.
An Ohio teenager who had just graduated high school was strangled to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, during her senior trip in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Natalie Martin, 18, was found unresponsive in her hotel room by Horry County police last week, according to NBC affiliate WMBF.
Her ex, 18-year-old Blake Linkous, was arrested and charged with murder for manually strangling Martin, causing her death, according to an arrest warrant obtained by WMBF.
Linkous was also attending the post-graduation trip in Myrtle Beach when the incident occurred, according to The Sun News.
They had both recently graduated from Philo High School in Duncan Falls, Ohio.
According to Martin’s friend, the victim and Linkous had been a couple for several years, until splitting at the beginning of the year, the local news outlet reported.
The couple had reportedly stayed friends, despite the breakup.
The friend launched a GoFundMe on behalf of Martin’s family to help relieve some of the funeral expenses. More than $30,000 was raised by Thursday afternoon.
An obituary said the slain teenager enjoyed hunting and fishing, worked as a childcare provider and had a “life-long love for softball and soccer.”
“She had a free, pure and wild spirit with a contagious laugh, a personality out of this world that could bring anyone out of their darkest of days,” the obituary continued.
Martin is survived by her parents, Meghan Dingey and Jesse Martin, and her brothers, Kash Garber and Wyatt Martin.
Troy Dawson, the principal of Philo High School, told Fox News Digital that the whole community is deeply shaken by the alleged killing.
"We're hurting. It's a tragedy. We are just shocked with disbelief," he said. "She was well-liked by her classmates and teachers and was very sweet and very funny."
Dawson told The Sun News that Martin comes from a small, tight-knit community, which made the news of her death hit particularly hard.
“It’s hard for us to wrap our head around,” he added.