Danielle Dennis-Towne, 18, from Illinois, was said to have died from a single gun shot wound to the head at the hands of her friend Enrico Mascaro.
Mascaro, 19, has been charged with her murder.
The pair were originally reported missing from the family's home in North Carolina on Friday.
Speaking about Danielle, who was due to go to college in the fall, Mascaro's family spoke of their heartbreak saying they 'loved her like a daughter'.
They said in a statement: 'We just want the public to know that we absolutely loved Danielle. No words can take back the tragedy that has enveloped both our and Danielle's family.
'What started as a harmless visit of old friends turned into a misfortune that broke the hearts of many — friends and family.'
On the same day they were reported missing, authorities in North Carolina received a tip about items which were later traced to the pair found in a wooded area. Read More