NORFOLK, Va. - Thirty-year-old Kelsey Paton was found dead in a Norfolk apartment on July 11, and her family has many questions about what happened to her.
Nine months prior, 36-year-old Sheena West turned up dead in the same apartment.
Thursday, News 3 sat down with Paton’s parents, Kathy and Billy Paton, and her sister, Erin.
The man who lived at the apartment, Michael Ebong, is being held in the Norfolk City Jail; he's accused of rape but has not been charged in the deaths of the two women.
Kelsey’s obituary stated that she was a social justice warrior, a force of nature and that she was beloved by many.
“I am devastated to have lost my daughter. Thirty years old, just started a new job; people loved her. She walked into a room and you knew she was there,” said Billy Paton.
“We were so opposite but so alike - it was insane,” said Erin.
The two sisters had previously lived together and loved each other dearly.
The Patons are a close family. They say they share a lot with each other.
They showed News 3 pictures of their beloved daughter. They say she was an artist, an animal lover and was compassionate.
They all got together for a Norfolk Tides game the last night they saw her.
They said she went to meet up with friends at a bar at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, which is where her car was found.
Billy said it remains a mystery how she went from 24th Street and Pacific Avenue and then ended up in Ocean View later that night.
The family said Kelsey would have never left her car and said she would have texted a friend or her sister if was meeting up with someone she didn’t know.
Kelsey was found unresponsive at the apartment on Hillside Avenue on July 11.
Police were also called to the same place after Sheena West was found unresponsive back on November 15, 2020. She was missing for three days before her body was discovered.
As police were investigating the deaths of the women, they arrested Ebong for the rape of another woman, which allegedly happened in May.
He has not been charged in Kelsey or West’s deaths.
He declined an interview with News 3 from jail and is being held without bond.
Kelsey’s family said she was familiar with West's case.
Kathy Paton read us text messages Kelsey sent to her about it. She said Kelsey believed something bad happened to West and told her mom the reports of West being involved with drugs were untrue.
Police believe drugs played a role in the deaths of both women but said the Medical Examiner's Office will make a final determination.
Both families are adamant that both women were not drug users.
They said it was difficult to hear Kelsey's death described as an overdose along with West's death, which was described in the same way. They said the women were portrayed as drug users who overdosed, which they say is absolutely not the case.
The Patons want to know what happened to their daughter and are also haunted by details of West's case.
“The fact that Sheena had been out with three of her friends and her purse, personal phone was still on the table when they realized where is Sheena - where did she go?” said Billy Paton.
Loved ones believe there are more victims out there.
“That’s probably the biggest thing I’m trying to come to grips with - that this has gone on for this long,” said Billy.
Police say they are continuing to interview anyone who may be able to provide additional information pertaining to the investigation.
On August 15, friends and family are gathering for a celebration of life for Kelsey at The Bunker Brewpub, located at 211 21st St. in Virginia Beach from 4-8 p.m.
They will also be raising money for causes that Kelsey cared about, such as the Actors Fund, Fair Fight and Ruff Road Pet Rescue.