Police continue to investigate death of John Lawrence more than 3 months later
Ypsilanti police continue to investigate the death of John Lawrence as a homicide and are still collecting evidence in the case.
Detective Sgt. Thomas Eberts said detectives are making progress in the investigation. Two people were originally arrested following Lawrence’s death on March 31, but were released without being charged later on that week.
“We’re waiting for information from search warrants served in the case,” Eberts said.
Lawrence, 46, died after he intervened in a lease dispute involving his 19-year-old daughter and a couple she lived with at the Peninsular Place apartments, in the 900 block of Railroad Street.
Raven Lawrence, John Lawrence’s daughter, told AnnArbor.com she called her father after an argument about the living situation at the apartment escalated.
She lived at the apartment with a 20-year-old woman, a 20-year-old man and the couple’s child. The man was living at the apartment without a lease.
John Lawrence came to the apartment with his handgun on him, but gave it to his daughter and told her to put it in his car. Raven Lawrence said she put the gun in the car and returned to the apartment to find the door locked.
She called police and by the time investigators got into the apartment John Lawrence was dead.
A preliminary autopsy revealed Lawrence died from blunt force trauma to the head, but investigators backed off that statement as the investigation progressed. Detectives told AnnArbor.com Lawrence was hit in the head with a frying pan at some point during the confrontation.
Eberts said Tuesday Lawrence did not die from blunt force trauma to the head.
"The exertion of the struggle combined with those health issues caused the death," Eberts said.
The two 20-year-olds who lived at the apartment with Raven Lawrence were taken into police custody and put in the Washtenaw County Jail. However, they were released on April 3 without charges as police continued to investigate the case.
John Lawrence’s death was the second incident investigated as a homicide at Peninsular Place in the span of four months. Ypsilanti police continue to investigate the death of Julia Niswender, who was found dead at in her apartment in December.