BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Friends of a college freshman who police say was beaten to death in her dorm room by her boyfriend rallied others Monday to wear purple to raise domestic violence awareness, and her family mourned the loss of a "bright, beautiful young woman" one month after sending her off to school.
Alexandra Kogut's body was found early Saturday at the State University of New York College at Brockport, near Rochester. Campus police discovered the 18-year-old Kogut's body after her mother called them concerned because she couldn't reach her, Monroe County sheriff's spokesman John Helfer said.
Kogut's boyfriend, 21-year-old Clayton Whittemore, was arrested at a Thruway rest stop near Syracuse, 100 miles east, about an hour later. He told state troopers he intentionally killed Kogut, according to a criminal complaint. No motive was given.
The cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma, Helfer said, but he declined to say whether a weapon was used.
Whittemore pleaded not guilty over the weekend to a murder charge and is being held without bail in Monroe County Jail. Telephone messages left at his family's New Hartford home and at his public defender's office weren't immediately returned Monday.
Kogut's family released a photo of her along with a statement asking for privacy.
"Alexandra Kogut was a bright, beautiful young woman who was thrilled to be beginning her college education," the family said. "Her lovely and sweet demeanor was truly infectious and she will forever be missed."
A Facebook page set up in Kogut's honor had hundreds of messages of condolence Monday, and several friends and a former teacher urged supporters to wear purple.
Kogut and Whittemore lived in New Hartford, in central New York about 150 miles east of Brockport, and attended the same high school.
Kogut's childhood friend Mary Kate Heaton said the two appeared "perfectly content" in the relationship, which began last year.
"I know she loved him a lot," Heaton said by phone Monday.
Heaton and Kogut, along with their mothers, had taken a trip to New York City just before heading off to college, Heaton said. Kogut gave no hint of trouble as the group shopped and saw "Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway, she said.
"She was texting him throughout the whole trip," said Heaton, who goes to Stonehill College in Massachusetts.
Kogut was majoring in communication, university President John Halstead said. A memorial service was scheduled for Monday night on campus, he said.