Relatives react after murder of upstate woman on vacation

BOILING SPRINGS, SC (WSPA) – An upstate man has confessed to killing his girlfriend while they were vacationing in Tennessee.

I know I will never see her again. She will never call me again,” said the victim’s mother, Deborah Jones.

Shelby Booth, 26, of Boiling Springs, was murdered in a rental cabin in Tennessee over the weekend.

Booth’s mother said she tried to contact her daughter on May 7, the day she was killed.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested her boyfriend, Julian Popoca, 21, of Wellford. He is charged with second degree murder.

The couple were staying in a rental cabin in Sevierville.

“He took away someone who will be loved and missed by many people. Nobody’s life will ever be the same,” Jones said.

“Every emotion you might feel, from hate to rage to why,” she said.

Booth’s childhood best friend, Micah Mills, says he spoke to him just before he died.

“She told me she was in Gatlinburg and ready to go home and 20 minutes later she was shot and killed,” Mills said.

The sheriff’s office said it received a call around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. A report provided by the sheriff’s office showed Popoca admitted to shooting Booth multiple times during an argument.

Mills said he didn’t learn of the murder until the next day.

“I was going through Facebook and I saw his mug shot and I said to my mom, I was like, he’s Shelby’s boyfriend. And I said he killed someone said Mills.

Relatives said Booth interacted with everyone she knew with love.

“She was beautiful, she had a good heart, she would do anything for anyone. She was smart, funny,” Jones said.

“She was just full of life, you know? He was my best friend, we went through a lot together,” Mills said.

Now Booth’s mother wants justice for her taken too soon daughter.

“I can’t protect her anymore, there’s nothing else I can do except make sure what happened is taken care of in the right way, by justice,” he said. she declared.

Other loved ones reflected on the impact Shelby has 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 have ever known and she cared so much about people. She taught me a lot about life and love and so many other things. She helped me through some of the toughest times in my life,” said Jamie Booth.

“I really believe Shelby just got lost somewhere along the way. I don’t know how such a sweet and kind girl ended up with this monster. She was a sweet, beautiful soul who was just lost and taken too young,” he said.

The sheriff’s office said Popoca is being held in the Sevier County Jail pending appearance before a magistrate.

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