BOILING SPRINGS, S.C. (WSPA) – A South Carolina man confessed to killing his girlfriend while the two were vacationing in Tennessee, according to deputies.
“I know I’m never going to see her again. She’ll never call me again,” said the victim’s mother, Deborah Jones.
Shelby Booth, 26, of Boiling Springs was shot and killed in a rental cabin in Tennessee over the weekend, deputies said.
Booth’s mother said she tried to get in touch with her daughter on May 7 – the day she was killed.
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested her boyfriend, 21-year-old Julian Popoca, from Wellford. He’s charged with second-degree murder.
The couple was staying in a rental cabin in Sevierville.
“He took away somebody that will be loved and missed by a lot of people. Nobody’s life will be the same anymore,” said Jones. “Every emotion you could feel from hate, to rage, to why.”
Booth’s childhood best friend, Micah Mills, said he spoke with her right before she died.
“She told me she was in Gatlinburg and ready to come home and 20 minutes later, she was shot and killed,” Mills said.
The sheriff’s office said they received a call around 1 p.m. Saturday. A report provided by the sheriff’s office showed Popoca admitted to shooting Booth multiple times during an argument.
Mills said he didn’t find out about the murder until the next day.
“I was scrolling through Facebook and I seen his mugshot and I told my mom, I was like, that’s Shelby’s boyfriend. And I said, he killed somebody,” said Mills.
Loved ones said Booth interacted with everyone she knew with love.
“She was beautiful, she had a good heart, she’d do anything for anybody. She was intelligent, funny,” said Jones.
“She was just full of life, you know? That was my best friend, we went through a lot of stuff together,” said Mills.
Now, Booth’s mother is left wanting justice for her daughter taken too soon.
“I can’t protect her anymore, there’s nothing else I can do, except for make sure what happened is taken care of the right way, through justice,” she said.
Other loved ones reflected on the impact Shelby had on everyone’s lives.
“Shelby was my wife. Even though we were separated we remained close friends. Shelby was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever known and she cared about people so much. She taught me so much about life and love and so many other things. She seen me through some of the most difficult times of my life,” said Jamie Booth.
“I truly believe Shelby just got lost somewhere along the way. I don’t know how such a sweet kind girl found herself with this monster. She was a sweet beautiful soul that just got lost and was taken way too young,” he said.
The sheriff’s office said Popoca is being held at the Sevier County Jail waiting for his arraignment before a magistrate judge.