UNLV Honors College Student Murdered by Ex-Boyfriend

It’s a story that would break anyone’s heart. A young, promising, vibrant, sweet, young woman, at the start of her adult life, is now at rest with the angels after being shot to death by an ex-boyfriend whom she described to friends and family as “overly possessive.”

Paula Davis’ family is struggling to stay strong after the death of their 19-year-old daughter, who had just broken up with her 21-year-old boyfriend four days before she was found dead inside the family’s van at Desert Horizons Park in North Las Vegas. Paula’s family had reported her missing just a few hours before police found her body. Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys say the nature of the crime will make it more difficult to answer to.

A Promising Young Life Cut Short

Marisa Denton, once of Paula’s close friends, spoke to KSNV about Paula’s dream of one day joining the FBI. “She had her whole life planned out. She was just so organized and thoughtful in that way. She was someone everyone looked up to, that everyone could depend on.” Marisa also added, “She was a kind Christian. She loved to have intellectual conversations. She was super quirky. She was one of the best of us.”

Las Vegas Murder Scene

Paula had graduated in 2018 from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, where she was a musical theatre major. She was an economics major in the UNLV Honors College and part of a select Global Entrepreneurs Program at the time of her murder.

The Evidence Paints a Grisly Picture

Evidence inside the van, as well as text messages recovered from Paula’s phone, suggested that the crime scene had been staged and that Paula had most likely been murdered elsewhere. The scene inside the van was dismal: Paula had no clothes on, likely to prevent blood transfer onto suspect while he was staging the van before parking it at the park, according to detectives. Paula had been shot to death.

Her Ex-Boyfriend is The Primary Murder Suspect

The primary suspect? Giovanni Ruiz, a UNLV graduate accounting student now faces murder charges and will appear in North Las Vegas Justice Court on Monday morning for a felony arraignment. Ruiz had been dating Paula for 10 months, although Paula had been trying to break off the relationship for a while, according to the arrest report.

Paula’s parents told police that Ruiz often limited Paula’s contact with her male friends and that Paula was the first girl he had ever brought home to meet his family. During a subsequent search of Ruiz’s home, detectives uncovered a semi-automatic handgun inside a suitcase. The receipt for the gun showed it had been purchased two days before Paula was murdered.

Ruiz does not appear to have a criminal history in Clark County. A vigil is set to take place Thursday the 12th at 7 p.m. at Desert Horizons Park.


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