‘Who would do this to her?’: Questions remain after Fairfield woman found dead in apartment

Investigators were working to determine Thursday how and when a woman died after her body was discovered early Wednesday morning, and a preliminary coroner’s report indicates it’s a homicde.

The victim, Katherine Lobono, 23, was “pretty independent” in whatever she did, said a neighbor at the Villages of Wildwood.

Lobono’s body was found at her apartment at 28 Chapel Hill Drive by two friends at 4:18 a.m. Wednesday, next to blood on the floor and a bullet casing, according to a 911 call released by Fairfield police. Police are investigating the death as a homicide, but could not say when she died. The Butler County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy Thursday afternoon. The preliminary report indicates her death is a homicide, but the cause of death is “pending.”

The neighbor said Lobono “was definitely strong” and showed that strength in “the way she carried herself, the way she talked, the way she took care of everything.”

Her dog-sitting friends were getting off work and were asked to check on Lobono’s dog while she was gone. They noticed her car was in the parking lot so they were going to return the key, according to the 911 call. They entered the apartment after they saw the lights on, heard her dog barking and “flashes of the TV” through the window, according to the 911 call.

Both friends spoke on the call to police. The first of the two said he saw her on the floor next to the couch.

The dispatcher asked if she was breathing.

“No she’s not, man,” said the first friend, crying. “There’s blood on the floor. I don’t know what the hell happened … who would do this to her?”

The friends checked for a pulse at the request of the dispatcher, and the caller said she felt “cold.”

The second friend was handed the phone, and the dispatcher asked if there were any weapons around, and he said, “There’s a single bullet casing on the floor next to her head.” There were no weapons around her, he said.

The two friends were questioned by detectives, and investigators have interviewed about 20 people in total, said Fairfield police spokesman Officer Doug Day.

When Lobono’s neighbor was told about her friend’s death, she said, “I cried.”

She recalled how they “would sit out back for hours” and talked as they watched their dogs play.

“She absolutely loved my dog, my German Shepherd,” the neighbor said.

This is the third death this week at the Villages of Wildwood. Monday night, a man crashed his pickup truck into the lake at the corner of Chapel Hill Drive and Brittany Lane, about 90 minutes after an apartment complex employee called 911 to report he was driving recklessly on the grass and around the lake. Morance Harrison Sr., 35, and his daughter, Nena Harrison, 6, drowned in the pond. Harrison Sr.’s son, Morance Harrison Jr., 4, survived the crash.

Day said there is no indication Monday’s accident night is connected to Lobono’s death.