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Shoe collector featured on reality show found murdered in pool, boyfriend arrested, say Calif. cops

(CBS) MENIFEE, Calif. - A Southern California woman best known for appearing on the TLC program "My Collection Obsession" was found dead in her swimming pool Monday, and police say her apparent live-in boyfriend has been arrested, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The victim is 58-year-old Darlene Flynn, who was an avid shoe collector.

The suspect is 29-year-old Justin Charles Smith.

Cameras followed the couple for the TLC show as Flynn purchased her 15,000th shoe-related item. She was seen showing off a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records previously recognizing her for having 14,684 such items in her home, CBS Los Angeles reported.

On the TLC show, Smith said that he and Flynn sometimes argued about the amount of shoes she owned, but that he had "learned to just deal with it." The episode also showed Smith preparing Flynn breakfast in the shape of a shoe, and closed with a shot of the couple dancing by the pool.

To hear neighbors tell it, the relationship was far from a perfect fit.

"About every six months they'd have a knock-down drag-out," neighbor Mike Danford told CBS Los Angeles. "And he'd go tearing outta here."

"We have heard them fighting in the past," said neighbor Lisa Renfro. "Because they did have what seemed like a volatile relationship."

A friend of Flynn's said her family was trying to reach her and called police when they realized something was wrong.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Flynn's home around 2p.m. Monday after receiving calls about a domestic disturbance. Deputies removed Flynn from the pool, where a preliminary examination found that the victim "had injuries consistent with blunt force trauma," according to Sgt. Todd Torrenti.

Torrenti said deputies saw a shirtless male running from the back of the residence when they attempted to enter the home. Hours later, Smith was arrested.

  • Barry Leibowitz

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