NORFOLK, Va. – 36-year-old Sheena West and 30-year-old Kelsey Paton both loved animals, enjoyed refurbishing furniture and were both loved by many in the Hampton Roads community.
Both women died in the same apartment months apart, and their deaths are both undetermined, according to police.
Loved ones say the two women knew each other and were friendly with the same people.
Norfolk Police say West and Paton were found at an apartment on Hillside Avenue. West died on November 15, 2020, while Paton was discovered dead on July 11, 2021.
Court records show the man who lives in the apartment is 43-year-old Michael Ebong.
Through the death investigations, police say they arrested him for an unrelated rape and abduction charge that happened in May.
News 3 uncovered court documents in this case that state he’s accused of drugging the victim, taking her to his place and raping her. They suspect this to be a "pattern and not an isolated incident."
He has not been charged in the deaths of West or Paton.
News 3 spoke exclusively to West's mother. She didn’t want her name released but said her daughter loved to cook, loved being a mom and played basketball in college in Michigan before moving to Virginia.
“She was a loving soul. I say a loving soul because it was embedded in her kindness and the willingness to help others,” said West’s mother.
News 3 also interviewed West’s friends, Cat and Erin. We are only identifying the women by their first names.
“She was a veterinarian tech, so she loves animals. She was a good cook... and funny. She's like the funniest person you'll ever meet,” said Cat.
Cat said West was out with friends for a birthday party. They said she was missing for three days before they discovered she died.
News 3 also spoke exclusively with Paton's parents. They said she was caring, would light up any room and always made an entrance when she walked into a crowd.
Paton worked as a full-time administrative assistant and was an artist. Her parents said she went to the Norfolk Tides game with them the night before she died.
Police say investigators believe that drugs played a role in both deaths, but the medical examiner’s office will determine the official cause and manner.
Loved ones of both women say they were not drug users. West’s friend Erin said West's death was labeled as an accidental overdose, but she said, “That's not the person she was and we knew there was more to it, and we just didn't feel like we were being heard.”
“We want her name cleared. That's not who she was,” said Cat.
Ebong declined an interview with us from jail, and we have reached out to his attorney.
Again, he hasn't been charged in the deaths of the two women.
Detectives said that Ebong would frequently go to two Virginia Beach restaurants, Seaside Raw Bar on Atlantic Avenue and Central at Shore on Red Tide Road.
Norfolk Police ask anyone with information on this case or any other case to come forward.
Ebong is being held at the Norfolk City Jail. He is expected in front of the judge Monday morning.
“This is a situation where I don't think that it stops with just them,” said Erin.