updated 11/30/2007 11:47:22 AM ET 2007-11-30T16:47:22

The ex-boyfriend of a Jackson State University student led police to her decomposing body in the woods off a quiet street Thursday and was charged with murder, authorities said.

The body of 20-year-old Latasha Norman, an accounting major who worked at the school paper and was described by her friends as a serious student, was found near some old tires, a faded blue tarpaulin and empty beer bottles.

Her ex-boyfriend, Stanley Dwayne Cole, was charged with murder, Police Sgt. Jeffery B. Scott said.

Cole, 24, had hired an attorney, Scott said, but he did not know the lawyer's name. A sergeant at the Hinds County jail said Cole had been booked into the facility, but she did not know the name of his lawyer, either. A bail hearing was set for Friday.

Norman, who like Cole was from Greenville in the Mississippi Delta, had been the target of attacks in the weeks before she disappeared Nov. 13 after leaving a class, authorities said.

Jackson State President Ronald Mason said he believes Norman left the campus with Cole.

Cole had been charged with simple assault after police said he hit her. And someone had slashed Norman's car's tires and removed the vehicle's license plate, investigators said.

Her disappearance caused an outpouring of emotion on the 7,900-student campus, where students have held candlelight vigils.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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