Vigil Held for Georgia Lesbian Lisa Lawson, Apparent Suicide
The death of Lisa Lawson, a 40-year old lesbian who went missing about a week before Thanksgiving, has been ruled as apparent suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a McDonough Police Department report.
"We do not make any comments on suicides," said McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey in comments given to the Georgia Voice. According to the article, he was on an extended vacation to celebrate his honeymoon. In his absence, no one at the department was authorized to talk to the media without prior approval from the chief.
Henry County Coroner Donald Cleveland, who performed the autopsy, is withholding comment for the time being.
Lawson’s family held a memorial service on Friday, Dec. 14, at Mount Ephraim Church in Northwest Atlanta. Michelle Alexander, Lawson’s girlfriend of five months, held her own private memorial over the weekend for Lawson, who she affectionately referred to as "Lisa Love."
On Alexander’s Facebook page, she talked of being at peace and coming to terms with not being able to be with her soulmate. Friends have also posted encouraging words for Alexander or spoken of the love that Lawson had for her.
"It is with the greatest level of sadness that I have to come to you all and let you know that Lisa has been found, but she is no longer with us. We really do not care to discuss the details so please understand if I don’t respond. We are working on arrangements and will let everyone know when services will be. #lisamatters Rest In Peace Lisa...I love you more than Love...," wrote Alexander in a recent Facebook post.
After the memorial, Alexander and friends gathered at El Azteca, one of Lawson’s favorite midtown Mexican restaurant, and celebrated her life. El Azteca is also where the two met over four years ago and became fast friends. They had been dating for about five months.
Alexander and her family had been desperately trying to get authorities to search for Lawson, 40, after she disappeared on Nov. 19. For almost three weeks, Alexander and Lawson’s family had been holding out hope that Lawson would return to her family alive.
The search led police to where Lawson’s cell phone had hit on a cell tower in the area of Jonesboro Road. Her vehicle, a green Chevrolet Suburban, was found in a Wal-Mart parking lot in McDonough, Ga., on Dec. 4.
"The search was expanded to include the city of McDonough. Ms. Lawson was found deceased inside of her vehicle in the city of McDonough approximately at 11 p.m. The city of McDonough is investigating the cause of death," wrote Clayton County Police Department Community Affairs Officer Sgt. Kevin Hughes in a Dec. 4 press release.
According to the McDonough Police report, Lawson was in the back middle seat slumped over on her right side, towards the right side of the vehicle.
"The victim appeared to have suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound (to the head)," stated the report.
A month after Lawson disappeared on Nov. 19, family and friends are now trying to move forward. Alexander was active in trying to get media attention and trying to get police to give their time to the search for Lawson.
Lawson was originally from Cobb County in Georgia and had been athlete most of her life. She had previously been a member of the Atlanta Xplosion women’s full contact football team. She also coached a girl’s basketball team during the off-season. She was also the founder of a nonprofit, Forever Tomorrow, which provided tutoring services to high school student athletes and focused on making academics a priority, Alexander said.
Alexander set up a website, www.findlisalawson.com, which showcased a video on YouTube (now listed as private) to help tell the story of her girlfriend’s disappearance.