NORFOLK, Va. - Families were told their daughters died of drug overdoses months apart in the same apartment, but now a Norfolk man is facing second-degree murder charges for their deaths.
Loved ones fought to clear the women's names and said they were not drug users.
The mothers of both women spoke exclusively to News 3.
Kathy Paton said the pain of losing her daughter will never go away.
Kelsey Paton's pictures and her artwork line the walls at her parents' house in Chesapeake.
“I want to know what happened to her from the time that she walked out of the door with a big smile on her face until the next morning,” said Kathy.
The 30-year-old was found dead of a drug overdose inside Michael Ebong’s apartment this past July.
Just a few months prior, 36-year-old Sheena West found dead of the same thing.
Sheena's death was ruled an overdose for several months, and loved ones fought to have the case re-examined.
Both families say the women were not drug users and say they knew immediately something was very wrong when authorities said the women died of an overdose.
Erin Paton said her sister and Sheena would never have gone with a stranger or been using heavy drugs.
“She never would’ve done that, so I guess with the murder charge coming out, it’s like, ‘We told you,'" said Erin.
They say they fought to clear the victims' names and felt like they had to defend them.
“I think if they would’ve done their due diligence with Sheena, I think they would’ve protected a lot more people,” said Erin and Kathy.
Last week, Ebong was indicted for two counts of second-degree murder for the two women's deaths.
He's got a long criminal history, according to the state online court system records.
After Kelsey died, police released information saying they were investigating the deaths of the two women. They said they uncovered more alleged criminal activity.
Ebong was then accused of raping another women in May and has a trial scheduled for February 2022.
Additionally, he was found guilty of a misdemeanor sexual assault charge after touching the butt of a thrift store employee in early May. He is currently serving a 365-day sentence for those charges.
News 3 has been investigating this case for months and uncovered previous court records in other cases.
Back in 2010, a woman said Ebong gave her a ride to his home, put his hands in her pants and pulled a gun on her. Those charges were dismissed.
In 2013, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges. Court documents reveal that an exotic dancer called 911 after he allegedly took $160 out of her purse and wouldn’t let her leave. They state the two got into an argument and that the victim said Ebong wanted his money back if they were not going to engage in a sexual act.
Records state, “She got her purse back after he pushed her against the wall. Finally, she was able to run out of the house.”
The victims' families said they feel like previous accusations were not taken seriously enough.
“The worst thing in the world has already happened to us,” said Kathy.
The Patons said are glad for the second-degree murder charges but believe that if more action had been previously, Kelsey may still be alive.
“What my problem is, is how it got to this point?” said Kathy.
Sheena’s mother told News 3 that she knew someone harmed her daughter, even when the death was being labeled just an overdose. She said the charges give her a little bit of peace.
Ebong is being held here at the Norfolk City Jail.
His lawyer told he has no comment about the new second-degree murder charges.
Monday, he declined an interview with News 3 from jail. This is the third time we have asked him to be interviewed.