1996-12-05: BODY FOUND AT BOULDER WORK SITE
BODY FOUND AT BOULDER WORK SITE
Thursday, December 5, 1996
By ALLI KRUPSKI Camera Staff Writer
By Crissy Pascual Daily Camera
CRIME SCENE: Police investigate the site where a construction worker found the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman.
As her grieving mother and sister watched Wednesday morning, authorities removed the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman from a construction site ditch close to her apartment near the North Boulder Recreation Center.
A Twin Peaks Excavating foreman discovered the body of Lorraine Florence Lawrence face down in the hole near the Boulder Housing Authority's apartment complex in the 3100 block of Broadway about 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, Boulder police said.
"We are treating it as a suspicious death," said city spokesman Kelvin McNeill. "It appears that the hole was properly covered and access to it was limited."
Police would not comment on the condition of the body or possible suspects. The Boulder County coroner's office planned to conduct an autopsy today.
Workers had covered the 6-foot hole with two pieces of plywood and two heavy buckets Tuesday night.
"We had it secured, so nobody could lift the plywood. It was safe so nobody could fall in, and there was equipment parked around it," said J.D. Lemmel, who found the body.
"When I got there this morning, the plywood was broken. And when I looked in, she was only in panties and a T-shirt," Lemmel said.
Lemmel notified police, who said they found a trail of blood leading from the apartment building to the hole, as well as a broken beer bottle near the scene. Investigators removed the body about 1 p.m. as runners and recreation center users stopped and stared.
Two murders occurred in Boulder in 1995, and as of July none had taken place in the city this year, McNeill said.
Geraldine Vodicka, Lawrence's mother, said her daughter "had epilepsy, but I don't think that's why she's dead today. I think someone killed her."
Dominique Vodicka, Lawrence's sister who moved into the North Boulder apartment complex three months ago, said: "A neighbor saw her last night at 9 p.m. sitting on the ice in her underwear, with a black eye and blood dripping from her eye and there was a ... guy walking near her. (The neighbor) made her go inside, but he never called us."
The neighbor should have informed the family, said Jonathan Smith, a family friend.
"If it looked like she had been punched or hit, and if he had called us or the police, she would be alive today," Smith said."She wouldn't have hurt a fly, and she didn't deserve to die."
Family members said they will remember Lawrence's gentle disposition. The mother of a 9-year-old son, Chad, and the oldest of five children, Lawrence had worked as a bagger at Safeway at 2798 Arapahoe Ave. for the past four years, Geraldine Vodicka said.
"Lorraine liked reading and taking long walks," her mother said, noting that Lawrence had lived in the complex for roughly nine years. "She was just a sweet person who never bothered anybody or fought with anyone."
But Lawrence had encountered violence in the past several years, according to records from the Boulder County Sheriff's Department. Records show she reported an assault in May 1990, a domestic dispute in January 1991 and saw a friend harass her sister, Elaine Romero, in October 1996.
Neighbors said they occasionally heard Lawrence argue with friends, but did not notice any unusual noise Tuesday night. Some residents, however, said they heard a car speeding away during the evening.
Irving Tejeda, who lives in the apartment next to Lawrence's, said he noticed her "wide open" front door at 7 a.m. Wednesday. "The lights were out, and it was cold," he said.
Staff writer Margie McAllister contributed to this report.