A friend of a police dispatcher whose body was found in an Arkansas forest last weekend told The Associated Press Thursday she believes someone else sent a text message from the slain woman's cellphone the morning after she was last seen.
Patty Hathaway said she texted her friend Dawna Natzke the morning after a Dec. 21 Christmas party that Natzke left abruptly. Hathaway said she told her friend that she wasn't pleased with how Natzke's boyfriend "pushed" her out the door.
Nearly two hours later, Hathaway received a text from Natzke's phone. "He didn't push me i fell and he caught me. I had taken a pain pill and was tour up," the message said, according to Hathaway.
Hathaway, who described the text to the AP, said she doesn't believe that message came from Natzke.
"I know she knows how to spell," Hathaway said in a telephone interview.
Authorities have a person of interest in Natzke's death, but wouldn't say Thursday who it is. No one has been arrested.
Natzke was last seen leaving a holiday party in the gated community of Hot Springs Village with her 28-year-old boyfriend, Kevin Duck. Duck told detectives the couple returned to her home that night and that she wasn't there when he awoke the next morning. Natzke wasn't reported missing until Dec. 23, when she didn't show up for work.
Volunteer searchers found Natzke's body Dec. 31 in a remote part of the woods about five miles from where Natzke's burned-out station wagon turned up in the Ouachita National Forest.
Hathaway, who has known Natzke for 13 years, said Natzke wouldn't have left Hot Springs Village by herself because she didn't like to drive very far.
"She just got lost in a brown paper bag," Hathaway said. "...She had no sense of direction."
Natzke, a 46-year-old mother of three, opted for phone calls, too, instead of text messages.
"She only texts me if she was at work," Hathaway said. "Otherwise, she'd always, always call me."
Natzke had the day after the party off, but Hathaway said she didn't know that at the time. When she found out later, she said it didn't make sense that Natzke hadn't called her on Dec. 22.
"She called me every day at approximately 10 o'clock cause she knows I don't like sleeping in," said Hathaway who works at a local bar.
Hathaway, who last saw Natzke at the holiday party, said her friend wasn't acting like herself that night. So, she pulled Natzke aside and the two friends were talking until she said Duck "came barging in on us." Natzke and Duck left together sometime between 10:30 p.m. and 11. Hathaway left a short time later.
"I kind of knew something wasn't right," Hathaway said. "That's the reason I text her the very next morning, that I wasn't pleased with what I had seen."
Hathaway tried calling Natzke a couple times after she received the message from Natzke's phone, but no one answered.
She said also she sent text messages to Duck, asking if he'd heard anything about Natzke. Hathaway said he told her the police said someone had found her vehicle and that he would let her know if he found out more.
Duck didn't return a phone message left by the AP Thursday at his mother's home. His cellphone number has been disconnected.
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