Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Reality Show Shoe Collector Murdered

Darlene Flynn, from her homepage at darsshowheaven.com

Darlene Flynn, from her homepage at darsshowheaven.com

Ever wonder what happens to those crazy characters you see on shows like My Strange Obsession and Freaky Eaters? In the case of record-breaking shoe collector Darlene Flynn, tragedy.

The 58-year-old woman was featured on TLC’s My Collection Obsession for her massive collection of shoe-related items. Darlene owned 15,000 pieces worth $500,000, which she kept in her Menifee, California, home. Her horde of shoes and shoe figurines earned her a Guinesss World Record. Darlene even had a website for her shoes called Dar’s Shoe Heaven. On the homepage, Darlene is seen holding up a sign that says “I can never have too many shoes.”

Besides thousands of shoes, Darlene also had a much younger boyfriend, 29-year-old Justin Smith. According to neighbors, the couple had a tumultuous relationship and were “always arguing…constantly fighting.” The fighting came to a violent end Tuesday, and Darlene was found dead from blunt force trauma. Justin was arrested on suspicion of murder.

In her episode of My Collection Obsession, Darlene makes Justin a shoe-shaped breakfast. Justin revealed that the couple sometimes argued about Darlene’s shoe obsession, but that he has “learned to just deal with it.”

Darlene said in her episode that she’d like to die surrounded by shoes. Unfortunately, police say her body was found in the pool.

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