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Friends Mourn As FW Police Investigate Possible Homicide

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Friends of a Fort Worth woman found dead after a small apartment fire are searching for answers to how her life ended.

Fort Worth Police identified Ashlea Harris, 31, as the victim found at River Ranch Apartments early Friday morning.

Fire fighters were called to the scene after reports of smoke coming from the second floor unit.

They found a small fire contained by the sprinkler system and found Harris soon after.

Police say Harris did not die of natural causes, and her death is being treated as a possible homicide.

Relatives told CBS 11 News that Harris, who worked at American Eagle Outfitters at Hulen Mall, left an early morning shift on Black Friday around 4 a.m. Fire fighters received the call around 8 a.m.

The clothing company said in a statement:

"We are saddened to hear of the death of Ashlea Harris. We are working closely with local authorities to ensure a thorough and effective investigation.

On behalf of American Eagle Outfitters, our thoughts and prayers are with Ashlea's family and her loved ones."

More than 50 people met at the apartment complex Sunday night for a vigil and balloon release.

Harris's friends decorated the steps leading up to her apartment, writing messages on balloons and leaving flowers.

A medical examiner has not yet ruled on the cause of death, but many, like Rachel Zajkowski, are trying to comprehend it.

"Whoever did this to her is selfish," Rachel said.

Harris is remembered as a friendly, positive person, who loved many and never spoke harsh words.

Difficult as it is to talk about their friend, Crystalie Camp says they want to keep her memory alive.

"I think we should honor her and make sure the world knows what a great person she is. I just don't want what happened to her to go away," said Camp.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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