Thoughts about her daughter are never far from Betty Davis' mind.
That's the way it is with parents of homicide victims who desperately want to change the trajectory of their child's death and are left only with what could have been.
“Neither side wins in this case. The parents ... I will never see my daughter again. Her life didn't need to be taken,” Davis said.
Her daughter, Amanda Shroyer, 30, herself a mother of four, was killed April 20 with her friend, Jennifer Dray, 40, at 815 Third St., where Dray was living. Shroyer called her “Mom.”
Details of their last moments live through a probable cause affidavit Betty Davis read only with the help of others.
Just before 5 p.m. that day, Dray and Shroyer hid in the bathroom as Joshua Dube, the brother-in-law of Walter Cash, the deceased renter, threatened them with a Glock pistol. Dube believed Dray was responsible for Cash's overdose death four days prior.
During the confrontation, Shroyer and Dray frantically reached out to male friends for help, court documents said.
“I gotta go; he's coming,” Dray said over the phone and told her friend Dube refused to leave.
Shroyer begged for protection in a text message.
“He walking up on mama (Dray), he got his pistol. We locked ourselves in the bathroom, me and mom in the bathroom.”
Shroyer's friend was across town when he got the message.
“The person who called 911 was actually a friend of Amanda's,” her mother said. “She had messaged him on Facebook messenger. By the time he got there, he went in there and found her shallow breathing. Amanda passed in the hospital.”
Betty Davis clings to the words “shallow breathing,” that one person found her alive before she died. She didn't know her daughter was dead until she got a call from a hospital two hours after the “five o'clock hour” when she was killed.
“The only way they were able to identify her was through Facebook's facial recognition program because she didn't have ID on her. They were able to track her down and found us as relatives on her page,” Davis said.
Because her husband wasn't physically able to drive her north, she asked a niece. Hospital staff met her at the door and escorted her to the room, warning her not to scream or touch her daughter because it was part of the crime scene.
She remembers her daughter as someone “who would find a way to put a smile on your face. With a dance or a joke, perhaps. Everyone has their own things they are not happy about. She understood that more so than most. That's who she was, helping others find happiness.”
Shroyer attended Paul Harding High School and finished her education through a GED program, Davis said. She attended Ravenscroft Beauty College and when that didn't pan out, she worked for a small shop for years. When she died, she was not working.
“She had some struggles of her own,” Davis said, “and was working on trying to get her children back and trying to get stable.” Her four children are 10, 8, 7 and 6 years old.
If anything, she says her daughter was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” With felony murder charges filed this week against Joshua Dube and alleged accomplice Marina Zrnic and police looking for Ronald Price, who they say is the shooter, the loss is still unbearable.
Shroyer's father lost his only child, Davis said, and “is taking it extremely hard.”
Davis no longer sleeps well and takes medication for depression brought on by her daughter's homicide.
“I actually have to go see a heart specialist because of everything that's happened,” Davis said.
She is thankful police were able to identify the people allegedly involved in the homicides.
“It literally took everybody who appreciated both Amanda and Jennifer to come forward to share information they had. If not, we'd still be in the dark.”