DOVER, N.H. – A man from Dover, N.H., was ordered held without bail Monday in the death of a female college student from Westborough, Mass., whose body has yet to be found.
Seth J. Mazzaglia, 29, a local actor and martial arts instructor, was charged with causing the “reckless” death of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, 19, a student at the University of New Hampshire, by “strangling her and/or suffocating her,” according to a criminal complaint read by Dover District Court Judge Stephen M. Morrison. Mazzaglia, who appeared via video conference from the Strafford County jail, was charged with one count of second-degree murder. A probable cause hearing was set for Oct. 29 at 10 a.m.
Marriott’s death occurred Oct. 9, the last time anyone had heard from her, in Mazzaglia’s apartment on Mill Street in Dover, said Associate Attorney General Jane E. Young. Authorities have been searching for Marriott’s body in the waters by Peirce Island off the coast of Portsmouth since Friday. Young did not elaborate on how Marriott’s body could have ended up in Portsmouth, other than to say that that is where the investigation led authorities.
In a brief phone interview, Young declined to comment on whether Mazzaglia had confessed to killing Marriott, citing the ongoing investigation. She confirmed that Marriott and Mazzaglia, who graduated in 2006 from UNH, knew each other, but did not say how.
Patrols have used sonar and underwater cameras in the waters off Peirce Island, but the strong tides and eddies are making the search for Marriott’s body much more difficult, Young said, adding that the search is expected to continue for the next several days.
Marriott was a sophomore studying marine biology at UNH in Durham. She disappeared Tuesday after leaving campus to visit friends about 6 miles away in Dover. She also did not show up for her job at Target Wednesday or attend class Thursday. Her vehicle, a 2001 Mazda Tribute, was found in a UNH campus parking lot.
Marriott had been staying with her aunt, Rebecca D. Hanna, in Chester, N.H., while attending classes. A woman who answered the phone at the Hanna residence Monday afternoon said the family was not available for comment.
No one answered the phone Monday at the Westborough home of Marriott’s father, Robert E. Marriott.
Marriott transferred to UNH this semester from Manchester Community College, where her uncle, Anthony Hanna, is a welding professor, according to the school’s website. The college observed a moment of silence in her honor Monday.
Ken Ziniti, manager at the Greenland, N.H., Target store where Marriott had worked since July, said everyone enjoyed working with her.
“She was a great kid, always smiling,” Ziniti said. “She would be someone who would go out of her way to make sure that everybody was smiling and having a great day.’’
At UNH, where “Missing” signs of Marriott are still posted on campus, students expressed shock and sadness over the fate of the sophomore student.
“A lot of people are kind of sad about it even though a lot of people didn’t know her,” said sophomore Charlie Countie. “It’s just sad to see all the posters around . . . and people were hoping she’d get found.”
Outside Rudman Hall, where Marriott took some of her marine biology classes, junior Molly Newman, who is studying kinesiology in the same building, said she was unnerved by the news of Marriott’s fate.
“My guard’s up a little more than it was before,” said Newman, who did not know Marriott personally.
Crystal Childers, a former manager at a Dover supermarket, who was at the courthouse Monday on personal matters, said that Mazzaglia would sometimes come into the grocery story several times a day. “It brings chills,” Childers said. “And it’s close to home, very, very close to home.”
In a press conference outside Dover District Court Monday afternoon, Young said that because the killing occurred in Dover, police from that city will lead the investigation, with the help of the FBI, State Police Marine Patrol, and the Portsmouth Police Department.Katheleen Conti can be reached at email@example.com.