Hot Springs woman murdered one year ago, killer still on the loose

HOT SPRINGS (KATV)--Exactly one year ago today, a Hot Springs woman was murdered and police continue to search for her killer.

Katie Marie Lavender, 20, was found dead in her apartment. Police continue to search for clues, but in the past year every lead they get, leads to nowhere.

Tonight, the family continues to hope that whoever murdered their loved one is found and put behind bars.

It was mild cloudy evening on March 19, 2013, when Hot Springs Police found Lavender dead in her apartment.

"It's been hard, it's really hard whenever you lose a kid," said her mother, Melba Lavender. "You expect them to grow old and bury you, but it don't happen that way sometimes."

Lavender was living with her boyfriend at 515 Higdon Ferry Road, police say it was he who found her. After sending her body to the state crime lab, this case was quickly classified as a homicide.

One month passed with no real leads until police identified this white 4-door passenger car with what they believe is either a black colored bumper or the bumper is missing.

"We have chased down many leads on white cars, but all leads have led to dead ends for us," said Hot Springs Detective Mark Fallis.

Fallis adds, they believe Lavender got picked up around the Oaklawn Race Track around 9:30 pm, the night before she died.

While they still haven't made any arrests, a family one year later is still left with unanswered questions, still sifting through her pictures hoping one day her killer is caught.

"It's like somebody just takes your heart out, dumps it and stomps on it and it's just rough," her mother added.

Police are still not releasing details of how they found Lavender and how she was killed, they said it could jeopardize the investigation

If you have any tips, you're asked to call the Hot Springs Police (501) 321-6742.