Katie Lavender was found murdered in her apartment in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Investigators are asking for the public’s assistance for further information regarding her unsolved murder.
Katie Lavender was born on April 22, 1992, in Hot Springs, AR. to Michael and Melba Lavender. Katie graduated from Caddo Hills High School, Norman, AR in 2010. At the time of her death, Katie was 20 years old and had just recently moved back to the Hot Springs, AR area. She lived alone in her apartment at 515 Higdon Ferry and was still settling into the area. She worked at the local Xerox store, directly next to the Oaklawn Racetrack. Her mother, Melba Lavender, describes her as an avid reader, a gifted writer with a talent for making anyone laugh and stated that Katie was well liked among her peers.
The Discovery of Katie Lavender
On March 19, 2013, police received a 911 telephone call. The caller stated they had discovered a dead body at 515 Higdon Ferry. Officers responded and discovered Katie Lavender deceased. Hot Springs Police Department Detective Mark Fallis was one of the first officers on scene and is spearheading the investigation. Katie’s boyfriend, who has not been publicly named, was determined to be the person who found Katie’s body and initiated the 911 phone call. He has cooperated with the police through the interviewing process.
The Investigation of Katie Lavender’s Death
Investigators could pinpoint what they believe to be the last confirmed sighting of Katie. Local security cameras female thought to be Katie was captured on near the Oaklawn Race Track at approximately 9:30 p.m. The security footage shows Katie being approached by an unidentified man on the sidewalk. After a brief conversation, the pair get into a white sedan-type car and drive toward Katie’s apartment.
Investigators are not releasing any specific details regarding Katie’s cause of death, or any discoveries made at the crime scene. Detective Fallis stated, “Anything that happened inside that apartment, there’s gonna be two people that know about it. That’s the person who did it and myself.”
Investigators have not discovered the white car, but they are searching for it and its driver. There is a belief that a potential match may link any DNA or fingerprints recovered from the undiscovered vehicle and any DNA or partial fingerprint that have already been discovered in Katie’s apartment. Investigators are hoping to find the vehicle to either prove or disprove that theory.
There was DNA and a partial fingerprint recovered from Katie’s apartment. Forensics developed a DNA profile. When the DNA was put through the Arkansas State Crime Lab and CODIS, a match was not discovered. Investigators submitted the DNA profile to Parabon NanoLabs, who came back with a surprising composite image of the possible person of interest. According to Parabon’s findings, they are 93% positive that the possible DNA match is a Latino man with brown hair, brown or hazel eyes, and no freckles.
The Continued Search for Answers
Detective Fallis has stated that the Parabon NanoLab’s findings were a surprise because they have yet to discover anyone who matches those physical characteristics. He also has stated very clearly that he has not cleared anybody in his investigation and that there are a lot of questions that need answers. Detective Fallis has also stated that the death of Katie Lavender is an open case and his department will remain committed to the investigation until it is solved.
If you have any information, investigators are asking that you contact them at the Hot Springs Police Department at (501) 321-6789. They have said that any caller can remain anonymous.