Remembering Lacee Shupe

Robert Owens mugshot courtesy Washoe County Jail
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RENO, NV - It was just over a year ago when Brittaney Bomar got the news her best friend had been murdered.

"I remember falling to my knees and shrieking," Bomar said. It was very intense.

22-year-old Lacee Shupe was killed in the Cold Springs home she shared with two roommates. One of those roommates, Robert Owens Junior, is set to go on trial for the crime later this month.

"I want to know why and I want the person who is responsible to pay for what they did," Bomar said. "We also need to get the message out that moving in with people you don't know is not a good idea; moving in with people you meet on Craigslist is not a good idea."

The two met on a camping trip several years ago and were inseparable ever since.

"She just ran up and said, 'Hi, I'm Lacee,'" Bomar said. "I was like, who is this spunky redhead and immediately we clicked. She was amazing, loved life and had a laugh that was contagious."

Shupe was a graduate of Douglas High School, active in the FFA and a lover of all animals. She planned on being a veterinarian.

"She took every kind of animal she saw in," friend Shannon Balazs said. "She had a goat in her front seat for awhile, trying to find a home for it."

Balazs, a photographer, used Shupe as her first model when she started her own business.

"She was so beautiful, vibrant, alive, she loved everybody," Balazs said. "She loved being alive and had such a bright future ahead of her. It's hearbreaking someone could do something so horrible. I'll never forget that day because I lost a piece of my heart that day."

Bomar stared a Facebook page called Justice for Lacee to share photos and memories and keep up to date on the case.

"It allows people to post pictures, get updates," Bomar said. "On July first I told everyone to send up balloons and the outpouring was very emotional, people were posting videos and pictures all day."

Anyone who was touched by Lacee's death is welcome to write a paragraph on the Justice for Lacee Facebook page. Some entries might be used in the upcoming court case.

An FFA Memorial scholarship has been set up through Douglas High School. The contact for that is Janine Johns at 775-782-5136