Student Found Dead in Her Apartment

December 17, 2005--Posted At 11:10 p.m. CST

RUSSELLVILLE--Russellville Police Chief James Bacon says an autopsy on an Arkansas Tech music student found dead in her off-campus apartment should be completed next week. He said that, until the state medical examiner's office performs the autopsy, the
cause of 19-year-old Nona Dirksmeyer's death won't be known.

Dirksmeyer, the reigning Miss Petit Jean Valley, was found dead Thursday evening. The sophomore at Tech was a graduate of Dover High School just a few miles north of Russellville.

Bacon said a Russellville police investigator would be at the state Crime Lab in Little Rock on Tuesday. He said that, unless something breaks, police will be waiting for the medical examiner's

Police investigators are trying to find out how Dirksmeyer spent the final 24 to 36 hours of her life. Bacon said several people have been interviewed, including neighbors and friends of the young

The police chief said the death was being investigated as an apparent homicide. Police have not disclosed any details of injuries or any suspected weapons, nor have any suspects been

Dirksmeyer was selected Miss Petit Jean Valley 2005 and went on to compete in the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant at Hot Springs in June. As a contestant in that pageant, her critical issue platform was ``Break the Cycle _ Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness.'' Her talent performance was a vocal rendering ``Con Te Partiro.''

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)