Footwear fanatic who lived with her $500,000 shoe collection is found dead in her pool after fight with former toyboy
- Darlene Flynn, 58, otherwise known as ‘The Shoe Lady,’ or ‘Queen of Sole,’ was found dead at her California home on Monday
- She met former live-in boyfriend Justin Smith, 29, at a bar while she was wearing her ‘sexy light up shoes’
- Mr Smith revealed to TLC last year that Flynn made him serve her a shoe-shaped breakfast while they were together
By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 24 July 2013
A Southern California woman who held a Guinness World Record for collecting shoe-related items has been found dead in her pool, and her former boyfriend, 29, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Darlene Flynn, 58, otherwise known as ‘The Shoe Lady,’ or ‘Queen of Sole,’ was found dead at her Menifee home on Monday. She had suffered blunt-force injuries, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Sheriff’s deputies answering a report of an argument found her body in the backyard pool and saw a shirtless man run from the property.
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The Guinness Book of World Records says Flynn had nearly 15,000 shoe-related items, including shoe-shaped furniture, lamps and jewelry, estimated to be worth $500,000.
Among the more famous items are a replica of the Disney Cinderella glass slipper, Dorothy’s red shoes from the Wizard of Oz, an array of Betty Boop shoes and Barbie heels by the bundle.
Flynn met Mr Smith at a local bar, she revealed on TLC’s My Collection Obsession in 2012.
‘I was wearing my sexy light up shoes. . . we danced all night long,’ she said.
Short lived: Flynn hoped to one day own a shoe museum (left); her former boyfriend, 29-year-old Justin Smith has been arrested on suspicion of murder
When Flynn first brought Mr Smith over to see her shoe collection, she said he was ‘blown away by it’.
Wearing a cowboy hat, Mr Smith, who lived with Flynn, revealed to TLC: ‘That’s all she talks about when she gets up in the morning, shoes, shoes, shoes.
‘She’s got her shoe toothbrush, shoe shower curtain, she even makes me make her a shoe breakfast. I’ll bake scrambled eggs and bacon and then when I put it onto the plate I’ll fold it into a shoe and serve it to her.’
Glass display cabinets adorn nearly every room in the home, and it took Flynn a staggering two full weeks to remove each item from its display cabinet and set it out.
She admitted in an interview with the North County Times: ‘I don’t know why it had to be shoes. I just love them and it kind of got out of control.’
She said she was inspired to buy her first 28 shoe figurines after visiting a family friend who collected them, around the time that she and her husband divorced.
‘I didn’t have to focus on a husband anymore and I had time to concentrate on the shoes,’ she said.
‘I love having them around. I look at them everyday and I remember when I bought them and my travels around the world.’
Though she had spent up to $1,800 on a single miniature shoe, Flynn’s most treasured item was a boot worn by her late grandmother on her wedding day.
The mother-of-one said she could wear ‘only’ about 100 pairs from her shoe collection, and aspires to one day create a shoe museum.
She almost even became the real-life lady who lived in a shoe, having once placed a $6,000 bid on eBay to purchase a 16ft by 20ft building shaped like a shoe. Unfortunately for Flynn, someone else beat her to it.
‘I would live in a shoe, if it was big enough to hold my other shoes,’ she admitted.
Scroll on to see highlights from Darlene Flynn’s collection…
In the details: A small 100-year-old wooden shoe from Oregon and Flynn’s grandmother’s wedding boot (left); The ‘Miss Vicky’ aka ‘Blue Promenade’ shoe (right)
Novelties: The ‘Upside Down House Shoe’ by John Herbert (left) and a boot toilet brush holder (right)
Intricate details: Some of the many porcelain antique shoe miniatures
Darlene’s darlings: Uncle Sam Boot by John Herbert that includes a military boot, rifles, grenades, dog tags, bullets, and medals (left); Flynn with a miniature ceramic boot (right)
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2376472/Footwear-fanatic-lived-500-000-shoe-collection-dead-pool-fight-toyboy.html#ixzz2a36BMtdP
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