Teen killed by classmate during Senior trip

An 18-year-old man, Blake William Linkous, is accused of strangling his former girlfriend, Natalie Jane Martin, in a hotel room located in South Carolina while they were attending a senior trip to the Myrtle Beach area.

According to the redacted incident report, Horry County authorities responded to Madison Drive on June 7 and EMS confirmed the victim’s death. An investigation commenced due to suspicious circumstances. Linkous, who is from Blue Rock, Ohio, is currently detained in a Horry County jail. Police claim he killed Martin the day before with premeditation by strangling her.

Evidence found at the scene and witness testimonies were cited in the arrest warrant. The motive remains unknown and no further information is available at this time, according to Mikayla Moskov, the Horry County Director of Public Information.

Brooklyn Ferrell, a friend of Martin, told The Sun News that the two had been a couple for a few years before parting ways at the start of the year. However, they remained friends. Both Linkous and Martin were graduates of Philo High School in Duncan Falls, Ohio and went to Myrtle Beach for their senior trip. Although the school did not officially sanction the trip, Philo High School Principal Troy Dawson said it is common for seniors to go on group trips there.

Martin’s obituary stated that she was a Philo High School graduate and was enthusiastic about life, enjoying nature, hunting, shooting guns, fishing, wrangling snakes, planting flowers, and gutting and skinning deer. She also had a fondness for her pets, Radar, Hella, Tiny Little B, her chickens, and her cat, Phoebe. Martin was a softball and soccer player and worked at Northstar Pizza and Sundale Kids as a childcare provider, forming strong bonds with the children she looked after. Her beauty was described as a ray of sunlight with her glowing blonde hair and blue eyes.