TAMPA — Carol Simons thought she'd feel relieved when the men accused of killing her only child were captured.
But when Hillsborough County detectives told her two young men, ages 17 and 18, were behind bars, she felt no joy.
"I just got sick to my stomach," Simons said Thursday in a phone interview from her home in Michigan.
Michael Denhof was found dead May 16 at his Riverview home, 13524 Prestwick Drive, a bullet wound to his upper body.
Weeks earlier, Denhof had moved to the residence with Labronx Louis Bailey, 18, and Heavy Patrell Shavers, 17, his mom said. Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said deputies believe Bailey was living there, but had a different address for Shavers.
But when Denhof phoned Simons on Mother's Day, he told her he wasn't happy with the situation and planned to move out.
He told her not to worry.
The day before he died, she said, he'd packed his belongings with a plan to move the next day. He'd found a new place and had enough cash on him to pay for the deposit, first month's rent and maybe even a car he had his eye on, Simons said.
But that ended sometime May 16. A neighbor heard shots in the morning, Simons said, but Denhof wasn't found until afternoon.
Denhof was a happy kid, Simons said, "always pounding on something and singing."
He'd come to Florida at age 18 with his parents' blessing after falling for a girl he'd met on the Internet and visited a few times. The two remained sweethearts and even talked about marrying one day, Simons said.
A husky 6-footer, Denhof liked to joke about how pretty he was. He took a couple of showers a day, got his beard professionally trimmed and favored designer clothes.
Simons called him "Mr. Bling," but she worries his flashy attitude and trusting demeanor might have lured in the bad guys.
Shavers and Bailey were taken into custody Wednesday.
Shavers is charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. He gave deputies an address of 11168 Creek Haven Drive in Riverview. Bailey, now of 12201 Creighton Place, is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact, one for murder and one for armed robbery.
Shavers, a minor, has been taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. Bailey is being held without bail at Orient Road Jail.
Last week, about 200 people attended Denhof's funeral in his native Grand Rapids.
"I've cried a thousand tears," Simons said. And, with the arrests, she can't help but think about the suspects' mothers, too.
"There's no justice in this," she said. "I'm so sorry for their families and what they have ahead to go through. This is premeditated murder — this ain't no joke."
Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3383.