FT. WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WALA) - A Fort Walton man is accused of killing his girlfriend after an argument. Fort Walton Police said Benjamin Inman, 33, confessed to killing his long-time girlfriend, Tammy Shields, 33, on Sunday.
Shields' best friend, Shawna Mckeithen, worked with her at the Bay Café. On Tuesday, Mckeithen was at work, missing her co-worker.
"I was supposed to be off work, and I worked a double for her. And it's just hard being here, and it's going to be hard being here and her not be here," said Mckeithen.
Mckeithen said her friend struggled with addiction in the past, but was now very involved in Alcoholics Anonymous. Shields had been working at the Café for 11 years, bought her own house and tried to help others.
"She would do anything for anybody. She got her life turned around, and she got clean, and she wanted to stay clean, and she wanted others to stay clean," said Mckeithen.
Mckeithen said this included Shield's boyfriend of two years, Inman.
"This is something she struggled with, with him. She just always wanted him to do good and to stay off of drugs. And he struggled, and she really was just there to help him. She really wanted to get it and not venture back out, and he really just continued to," said Mckeithen.
Mckiethen said she missed a call from Shields on Saturday night. They were both supposed to work the following day, but Shields never showed up.
"When she didn't show up for work at 10 o' clock, I knew something wasn't right. I sent another employee over to her house, and he said her car was there, and he knocked on the windows but no response," said Mckeithen.
Crime scene tape now surrounds the home on Lula Belle Lane for which Shields worked so hard.
Inside is where police said Shields' boyfriend, Benjamin Inman, killed her.
Inman was living with Shields at the time. Mckeithen said when she heard the news, she had a feeling he was involved.
"I knew it probably had something to do with her boyfriend because I knew he had a drug problem. I knew Tammy had access to all of their money - even his money - and I knew that it was something involving him. I knew," said Mckeithen.
According to police, Inman admitted to officers that after an argument about money, he had struck Shields in the head with a wooden two-by-four as she slept in bed. Then he choked her.
Mckeithen said Shields was worried about Inman's life but not for her own.
"She said, ‘I'm so worried he is going to end up dead,' and I think the thought would have never even crossed her mind that he would do something like this to her," said Mckeithen.
Shields will be missed by many. Mckeithen said Shields is a one-of-a-kind person who had a heart larger than most.
After turning himself in at the Okaloosa County Jail, Inman was booked on an open charge of murder.
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