An infectious smile, an unforgettable person
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Sophomore Megan Burke sat down in her environmental engineering class earlier this semester and began taking her books out of her bag when someone asked if the seat next to her was taken.
“No, go for it,” she said without looking at the stranger, who took a seat beside her. When Burke finally looked up, she saw that it was her old friend, Lizzi. The two had grown up together in Westborough, Mass., but Megan had no idea that her hometown neighbor had transferred to UNH.
The pair let out a laugh and spent some time catching up before class began. They hadn’t seen each other since the summer, when Burke often saw Lizzi walking her dog, Shadow, around the neighborhood.
That unexpected encounter in class was the last time Megan and Lizzi saw each other.
Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott was reported dead on Saturday afternoon, allegedly murdered by Seth Mazzaglia, a 2006 UNH alum living in Dover. She was 19 years old.
Marriott was born on June 10, 1993. She grew up in Westborough, Mass., where she met Burke. The pair became close friends growing up in the central-Massachusetts town with a population of about 18,000.
Marriott and Burke spent their time swapping Pokémon and Magic cards, playing video games and horsing around outside, eventually joining the same recreational softball team.
“I’ll remember Lizzi by all the good times we had as a kid,” Burke wrote in an email. “I’ll never forget her smile.”
As Marriott grew up and entered high school, even more people were struck by her infectious smile and personality, including physical education teacher Greg Rota.
“She’s the kid who will walk into a room and light up the room, like a battery,” Rota said over the phone Monday night. “She was the kid who would just light everybody up.”
Rota remembered Marriott and her friends running laps in P.E. class, while singing songs by Queen and other classic rock bands. A natural vocalist, she was involved in the high school’s choral group and had won a music scholarship.
Rota said that one of the lasting memories he’ll have of Marriott will be watching her sing as part of a duet during a concert the day before she graduated from Westborough High in 2011.
Marriott was also the junior prom queen, wearing a gown that she made herself.
“She looked so pretty, and was never in the ‘popular crowd,’ so it was really nice to see her win,” Burke said.
An impeccable dresser, Marriott wore high-heels almost every day during high school, according to Rota.
“You could always hear her clicking down the hall,” he said. “But you don’t hear her clicking anymore.”
Marriott transferred to UNH in the fall after attending a community college last year. She commuted to her classes from Chester where she lived with her aunt and worked part-time at a Target store in Greenland to help pay for her tuition.
She was not a member of the UNH community for more than a month and a half, but Marriott made an impression on the people that she met in Durham.
Freshman Monique Arsenault met Marriott after they were assigned to the same biology lab group.
“We were both marine biology majors, so right off the bat, we hit it off,” Aresenault said. “Within the group, we got really close.”
Marriott provided comic relief during the difficult experiments, cracking jokes and poking fun at the teaching assistant. But when the time came to focus on the work, she led the group in the right direction.
When they were struggling with a problem, it was Marriott who often broke through with a solution.
“Lizzi was always the first person to come up with what we should do next,” Arsenault said.
After having bio lab off last Monday, Arsenault had not seen Marriott in more than a week and a half when she heard the news of her disappearance. Arsenault was watching the news at home with her mother on Saturday when she saw the report of Marriott’s death.
“She’s the sweetest girl,” Arsenault said. “It’s hard to believe it happened to her.”
At the start of this Monday’s bio lab, Arsenault and the rest of the group were given the chance to drop the assignment that they had been working on with Marriott. The news had hit all of them hard, including one group member who had not heard about Marriott’s death until she was told about it at the beginning of the lab.
But the group decided to continue with the experiment anyway. They thought that it would be disrespectful to Marriott’s memory to drop the assignment after she had put so much hard work into it.
Later in the lab, the group was having a difficult time with part of their assignment.
“If Lizzi were here,” one student said, “she would know what to do.”