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McGowan Murder Investigation Continues

Updated: Nov 12, 2007 03:41 PM EST

A suspicious death has now turned into a murder investigation. Co-workers went to Jayne McGowan’s house when she didn’t show up for work on Friday. When they got there, they found their friend shot dead in her living room. Her car was missing.

McGowan, a recent University of Virginia graduate, lived in a house in the 800 block of Saint Clair Avenue. Her home is now a crime scene.

Kathy Baker was one of the people concerned when McGowan didn’t come in to work on Friday. Baker worked with McGowan at AIDS Services Group. Her friends say McGowan was putting together a major fundraiser for the organization on Saturday.

"She was one of those really bright lights and to see that light snuffed out at 26 is just something that is beyond comprehension," said Baker.

Two of her co-workers found McGowan dead in her living room Friday afternoon. Detectives say she was shot at least once in the head. There were no signs of forced entry, but friends said her car was missing.

Greg Turner lived right next door to McGowan and said she kept to herself and he didn't see anything out of the ordinary in the days leading up to her death.

"Never heard a thing. We stay pretty much to ourselves and like I said, it's awful quiet around here," shared Turner.

Saturday night, the ASG event went on without her, with the event run just as she had planned it. The gala hosted auctions and dances in celebration of the organization’s 20th year of service and to raise money for local AIDS and HIV programs. It was the first time McGowan coordinated the event.

"There's a lot of time for us to cry and regret and mourn her loss, but this was her night," insisted Cynthia Neff with AIDS Services Group.

Sunday afternoon, police located McGowan’s gold Nissan Sentra. Authorities said a resident's tip helped them find the car in a wooded area along Fairway Avenue near the Rivanna Trail about half a mile away from McGowan's residence. Police said the resident was walking along the trail, spotted the car and called it in.

A forensics unit recovered evidence from the scene, but hasn't released additional details. Police said no weapons were visible in the car.

The vehicle will be analyzed in Charlottesville.

Reported by NBC29 News