SEFFNER, Fla. - A single mother of two from Seffner was found dead in a hotel room in Gwinnett Co., GA in what police are calling a murder-suicide.
Lacresha Day was found Oct. 17 alongside the body of Devin Shorter, a Gadsden County man with whom she was apparently in a relationship. Day's family said they had no idea about Shorter.
"She always trusted people," said her mother, Cynthia Haynes. "She always sees the better part of the person."
According to Gwinnett Co. Police, Shorter shot and killed Day and then turned the gun on himself. Day - whose children are 7 and 8 - was recently hired as a traveling nurse.
While going back and forth from Seffner to Georgia, her family believes she met Shorter through a dating app. Messages between them go back to Aug. 22, a relationship she never told her family about.
Shorter had a history of charges for drugs and weapons possession. Day's family thinks she knew about his past.
"Maybe [she just wanted] companionship," said Haynes. "I am sure it is lonely, it's you and your daughters, and she is just working."
Friends - who did know she was seeing Shorter - said they noticed jealous, controlling behavior.
"I honestly think she was trying to break it off with the guy," said Haynes. "Lacresha did say she couldn't wait till she was single again."
Her mother is sharing their story, hoping to save someone in a similar situation for a tragic end.
Photo of Lacresha Day, viewed on the phone of her sister.
"It is easy from the outside to say, 'You just should have left,' or 'Why didn't you call the police?" You don't know what they might do to your family," Haynes said.
The two-month relationship ended the life of someone who, despite becoming a teen mom, graduated high school and college and became a nurse.
"If you have family, if you have friends, call, let somebody know," said Haynes. "You don't have to do it by yourself, there is a way out."
She urged people to be involved in the lives of their friends and family; find out who they're dating and what's happening behind closed doors. She says she will be asking herself forever if she could have done more.
Lacresha Day leaves behind two children, two sisters, and her mother and father. A funeral service is scheduled for late November. An online fundraiser has been set up to help Day's family raise her children.