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UNT student was in Fry Street area hours before police found her dead

Amanda Clairmont was with at least one person in the Fry Street bar area the night before she was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds inside a car in Corinth, according to a witness and a family member.  

Corinth police found the 21-year-old University of North Texas student's body during a patrol about 6 a.m. Sunday in a vacant parking lot in the 5700 block of South Interstate 35E. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has officially ruled her death a homicide. 

Amanda Clairmont
Amanda Clairmont

Clairmont's half-brother, Illinois resident Mike Gawlik, said he learned from Clairmont's friends that she had been drinking in the Fry Street bar area on Saturday night. Another witness said she was with at least one person at the time. 

Gawlik said she wasn't known to use drugs or drink heavily. He described her as responsible and didn't know how the night could have ended with her shot in a vehicle.  

"Everything she did, she's always, always talked to me about it," the 35-year-old Gawlik said. 

This is the first reported homicide in Corinth since 2001, according to the FBI uniform crime reporting system. The suspect is still at large, and Corinth police Lt. Jimmie Gregg said investigators have been pursuing leads for the last two days. 

"Our main goal right now is just to get justice for the family," Gregg said. 

The parking lot where Clairmont's body was found sits next to a Nissan dealership. Several houses border the lot, and nearby resident Tanya Kiefer said she heard four gunshots in the area between midnight and 1 a.m. Sunday. 

Kiefer had been getting ready for bed when she heard the four "pops," but she didn't hear any vehicles speed out of the area, she said. KDFW-TV (Channel 4) reported that the vehicle had crashed into a fence in the lot, but Corinth police would not confirm that information Tuesday. 

Raised in Sandwich, Illinois, Clairmont joined other family members in Texas around 2007 after her and Gawlik's mother died of cancer. She first lived in McKinney before moving to Frisco, according to Gawlik. 

Clairmont attended Liberty High School in Frisco before enrolling at UNT in 2014, university spokeswoman Leigh Ann Gullett said. According to her enrollment information, Clairmont appeared to have completed college credit hours while in high school, Gullett said. 

At UNT, she was a business major in her senior year. 

Her most recent address was listed in public records as an apartment on Eagle Drive in Denton. However, one friend said she lived in Corinth, and Gawlik said she had moved around the time the semester started in August. 

Clairmont, who had a knack for makeup, had worked in the cosmetics department at Nordstrom at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco since she was 18. 

"She loved helping people look pretty," Gawlik said. "She loved helping people with hair and just anything to help someone feel good about themselves."

Gawlik said Clairmont was the closest resemblance to their mother in the family — full of laughter, adventure and wit. 

"I was known as her Mikey and she was known as my Panda Bear," he said. "I not only lost someone I looked at as my sister, but someone who could resemble my daughter someday. She was my last core element to remind me of Mom." 

Clairmont's brother David Clairmont said other family members are "still waiting to comment before we find out what actually happened and who did this." 

Corinth police still haven't released the type of vehicle she was found in, saying it's a critical piece of the ongoing criminal investigation. They cited similar reasons for not releasing the number of gunshot wounds.  

Gullett said flags were flying at half-staff across the UNT campus Tuesday. University President Neal Smatresk also released a prepared statement. 

"Our deepest, heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends of UNT student Amanda Clairmont," he said. "Our hearts are heavy with the news of the tragic loss of her life."

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.