ST. PETERSBURG — She stood in front of the mirror Saturday and preened, like she always did before going out.
But Elfleter Bolden didn't like her outfit. She changed into a bright white halter top and a flowing green scarf with matching shoes. She turned to her mother, Bernice Bolden.
"How does this look, Mama?"
"It looks real nice."
By early the next morning, she was dead at 33. Her jealous ex-boyfriend beat her, police say, then ran her over repeatedly with his car. Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force arrested Oliver Samuels, 30, in Hialeah on a charge of first-degree murder.
That same day, her family sat in the 66th Avenue S home Bolden shared with her mother. They hadn't slept in days. Sunday, so many people came to comfort the family, cars clogged the street.
"What could put a person in that kind of rage?" said her uncle, Henry Wooten.
"A madman," said her cousin, Alonzo Lester. "He hit her with a tire iron and ran over her. Left her there like a dog."
Bolden, who went by "Shanta," was raised in St. Petersburg, the youngest child in her family.
"When she smiled at you, you knew that smile was genuine," said Lester. "It captured you and it held you."
Bolden played basketball and excelled at St. Petersburg High. In 1993, she was one of 800 local black youths honored for maintaining a grade point average above 3.0.
She became a certified nursing assistant and worked two jobs. She recently considered going to school to become a licensed practical nurse.
She loved Jamaican culture and food — oxtail, rice, jerk chicken. She cranked reggae music while cleaning. She enjoyed reggae clubs, where her family thinks she may have met Samuels. Police say he is from Jamaica.
"She thought he was okay at first," said Bernice Bolden, 66. Samuels worked at McDonald's, she said, and had children in Jamaica.
But over the six months they dated, he became increasingly possessive, her family said. She broke it off a month ago.
"I just told her recently that he was too crazy," her mother said. "He treated her like he owned her."
Saturday night, Bolden attended a party with her cousins. Later, she hung out with a man Samuels didn't like, her family said.
She was leaving the Reserve at Lake Pointe Apartments, 5700 Lynn Lake Drive S., early Sunday morning when Samuels confronted her outside, beat her and drove over her with his 2002 Chevy Monte Carlo several times, St. Petersburg police said.
On Tuesday, U.S. marshals found his dark blue Monte Carlo in Hialeah. They waited for him to return and arrested him.
"I hope he dies," said Bernice Bolden. "I hope they give him the electric chair."
Bolden's family plans a funeral for Saturday and hosting dozens of family members at home.
Some inside her empty room.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8857. Katie Sanders can be reached at (727) 893-8804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.