‘So much to offer the world’

Published 10:18 am Thursday, July 5, 2018

A body discovered during a search for 22-year-old Longwood University graduate Denise Martin was determined to be Martin’s June 30.

Denise Martin

Virginia Beach Police Department Master Police Officer Linda Kuehn confirmed that a body found at the 2600 block of Edgehill Avenue in Virginia Beach June 27 was Martin’s following a report from the Office of the Medical Examiner.

Kuehn said there was no suspicion of foul play in connection with the incident.

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Martin was reported missing June 19 in the Red Mill area of Virginia Beach.

Multiple, widespread searches organized by Martin’s loved ones took place by foot. Social media was also used to bring awareness to Marin’s disappearance.

Miriam Loya, a friend of Martin’s involved in her search, spoke about Martin’s influence as a friend, sister and daughter to her loved ones and thanked people for searching for her.

“Thank you to all that shared Denise’s story and helped in the search for her whether it was as a volunteer on foot, sharing a post or saying a prayer,” Loya said. “We ask that in this time and in the weeks to come, family and friends — keeping in mind those of us that took to social media as a means to helping in the search — are given the time to begin the healing process and mourn the loss of a beautiful daughter, sister, girlfriend and friend.”

“This is not the end of Denise’s story,” Loya said.

Longwood University released a statement Monday in connection with Martin, who graduated from the university in May with a theatre arts degree concentrated in the technical side of production.

“Denise was a cherished member of Longwood’s theatre community admired by her friends and teachers,” university representatives said in the release. “We are heartbroken over the loss of a citizen-leader of great talent with so much to offer the world. We keep her family in our hearts during the difficult days ahead.”

Bruce Speas, associate professor with the Department of Theatre, Art and Graphic Design and Animation, said he, with the department and students, will miss Martin and her dedication to theatre and those around her.

“Everyone with the Longwood Theatre program, as well as the entire Longwood University family, morns the loss of Denise Martin,” Speas said in a statement. “Denise was a deeply caring and compassionate young woman who was greatly respected and admired by her fellow theatre students and faculty. Her talent, dedication and love of theatre was truly remarkable. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”