Body found in Ark. forest was missing dispatcher Dawna Natzke

Last Updated Jan 4, 2012 11:16 AM EST

Dawna Natzke

(CBS/KTHV/AP) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Police said Tuesday that a body found in the forest over the weekend was that of a missing police dispatcher last seen alive Dec. 21. Detectives have ruled the death a homicide, a family member says.

The Garland County sheriff's office gave a statement Tuesday saying the medical examiners confirmed the body found was that of Dawna Natzke, a 46-year-old mother of three.

Her sister, Vicki Hegyi, told the Associated Press that investigators came by the family's home Tuesday to confirm what she already suspected, that the body was her sister's. "It was a formality anyway," Hegyi said. "We knew it was Dawna."

According to the sheriff's office, a cause or time of death has yet to be determined. However, the sheriff that stopped by the family's home Tuesday said Dawna's death was ruled a homicide. Hegyi said they didn't know about the condition of her sister's body.

Natzke, who was recently separated from her husband, was last seen alive leaving a Dec. 21 Christmas party with her 28-year-old boyfriend, Kevin Duck. He told police the two of them returned to her home in Hot Springs Village and that she was gone when he woke up.

CBS affiliate KTHV reports Duck said he went to bed around 11 p.m., while she stayed up watching  television, but when he woke up the next morning, his girlfriend and her car were gone.

On Dec. 22, her car was discovered burned in a remote area of the Ouachita National Forest.

The victim was not reported missing until Dec. 23, when she failed to show up to work.

Volunteer searchers found the body about five miles from where Natzke's burned-out car had been found a week earlier.

Police have not named any suspects in this case.

More on Crimesider: 

December 28, 2011 - Charred remains of missing Ark. police dispatcher's car found in forest