The 42-year-old woman who was shot to death in her Ralston apartment should have been in Virginia working on a new job, the man who recruited her said Tuesday.
Amiee J. Kearns had accepted a job as a supervisor of a food processing plant in Virginia Beach, Va.
Kearns didn't show up Oct. 21 for her first day, and the company that hired her wasn't able to reach her, said recruiter Jim Trotter, who is based in Florida.
Ralston police said Kearns was shot and killed Monday, apparently during a robbery at the Orleans Square Apartments.
Trotter said the Virginia company gave Kearns a credit card with $2,000 for relocation expenses and offered her a salary over $50,000.
He said he suspects Kearns stole the relocation money and had no intention of taking the job he helped her get.
“She played me and the company and took the money,” he said. “The truth is, if she had taken that job, this would have never happened to her. She would have been in Virginia.”
Trotter added: “She told me she wanted to go somewhere to have a new beginning and a new start. I don't know why she backed out.”
Kearns had financial problems, according to Douglas County Court records.
Susan Gomez, a Kearns friend and former colleague, said Kearns had been interviewing for several jobs and was conflicted about which to take.
“She didn't deserve what she got,” Gomez said. “She was a good person. If you needed the shirt off of her back, she would give it to you.”
Gomez said Kearns had moved to Omaha from St. Joseph, Mo., more than a year ago to take a supervisor job at Skylark Meats. Kearns had recently left the company.
Kearns was a grandmother and mother of three sons, Gomez said. She often traveled back to St. Joseph to visit her family.
Kearns hadn't yet found another job, Gomez said, but she had been to several interviews recently. “She didn't know which one she was going to pick,” she said.
Kearns was $1,876 behind on her rent. Her landlord filed a petition for restitution and past due rent in Douglas County Court last month.
In January, Rent-A-Center filed a claim seeking $3,500 from Kearns. She had rented two TVs and a TV stand from the company and then refused “to communicate and/or return merchandise,” Rent-A-Center said in court documents. The case was later dismissed.
Trotter said he was surprised to learn Kearns had money problems. She came off as the type of person who was financially sound.
“She loved to talk about money and what she had,” he said. “Maybe the wrong person overheard her.”
Police were called about 11:40 p.m. to the apartments at 4748 S. 83rd St. on a report of gunshots.
Kearns and another person were in her apartment when two men, both armed with handguns, entered and demanded money, Ralston Police Chief Ron Murtaugh said.
Kearns died at the scene. The other person in the apartment, which is on a lower level of the complex, wasn't injured. Murtaugh declined to identify that person.
The robbers were believed to have fled in a light blue, older-model “boxy style” car like a Lincoln Continental.
The car was last seen going east on Seymour Street, which is just south of the apartments near 84th and L Streets.
A man who lives in the apartment complex said he heard a noise Monday night that sounded like glass breaking.
The neighbor, who spoke on condition he not be named, said he went out on his balcony and saw a man run out of a neighboring apartment building. The man, wearing a black coat and gloves, ran to the west and turned a corner, he said.
The neighbor said another man came out of his building, carrying a hammer and looking around. Then a second man ran out of the apartment where the shooting occurred. That man was carrying a handgun and wearing a black coat with the hoodie up and a bandana on his face.
The neighbor said the second man warned the man with the hammer to “go back, go back” and then ran off.
World-Herald staff writers Kevin Cole and Jay Withrow contributed to this report.