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Fort Worth animal control dispatcher found dead

FORT WORTH -- A 32-year-old animal control dispatcher reported missing late Saturday by her mother was found dead Sunday night in a west Fort Worth apartment.

Investigators are looking into the death of Wendolyn “Wendy” Lawrence while they await a ruling by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office on the woman’s cause and manner of her death.

An autopsy conducted Monday, however, could not determine what killed her.

"We will await toxicology results but right now it is not being ruled a homicide," said Lt. Paul Henderson, police spokesman. "However the investigation will continue."

According to a police report, Lawrence’s mother told police that she had not seen, nor heard from her daughter since 9 p.m. Friday. She said her daughter, who had recently left her husband, did not go home Friday night nor to work on Saturday.

Homicide Sgt. J.D. Thornton said several family members of the missing woman had begun searching apartment complexes near Bryant Irvin Road for signs of the woman. On Sunday afternoon, a family member located Lawrence’s car parked in the parking lot of a complex in the 2500 block of Taxco Road.

Thornton said detectives and patrol officers canvassed the apartment complex, and about 9 p.m. Sunday, found Lawrence’s body in one of the apartments.

He said the apartment is rented by a friend of Lawrence’s estranged husband. Thornton said the friend and his family, who are not believed to have been involved in Lawrence’s death, had been gone for the weekend.

Amy Casas, a spokeswoman with the city’s public health department, said Lawrence had worked as an animal control dispatcher for seven and a half years. She always put her best foot forward in her job, even when dealing with irate callers or intense situations, Casas said.

“She was a very sweet person, everybody here loved her,” Casas said. “To be working as a dispatcher for that long really says a lot about her character.”

Casas said Lawrence had four children.

“It’s just tragic. That’s what even makes it worse, knowing that she has those children that now have to live without a mom,” Casas said.

Lawrence was also a talented artist who took an art class at one of the local community colleges and enjoyed oil painting, she said. Casas said she had recently profiled Lawrence for the city’s newsletter.