Guinness shoe record-holder beaten with baseball bat, D.A. says

The Menifee woman who held the Guinness World Record for her shoe-related collection was allegedly beaten to death with a baseball bat, according to court records.

The felony complaint filed Thursday accuses Justin Charles Smith, 29, of murder in the Monday death of girlfriend Darlene Flynn. Riverside County District Attorney’s spokesman John Hall said Flynn, 58, died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Flynn was found dead Monday in her backyard pool by authorities responding to reports of a possible domestic violence incident. They found Smith running shirtless from the Stone Lane home.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but the hearing was continued until Aug. 8.


In September 2012, Guinness World Records reported that Flynn’s collection of 14,684 shoe-related items was the largest on the planet. Nicknamed “The Shoe Lady” and “Queen of Sole,” Flynn was first recognized by Guinness in 2006, when her collection was about half its 2012 size.

The collection included a replica of Cinderella’s glass slipper and “takes over the entire house, spilling over into the pool and bar areas as well,” according to a 2012 Guinness World Records release. Her two dogs were named Shoesy-Q and Bootsy Shoebert.

Flynn and Smith appeared on a TLC’s “My Collection Obsession” featuring the shoes. The couple said they met at a bar -- Flynn was wearing her “sexy light-up shoes” -- and Smith acknowledged they “sometimes argue” about her collection.

“Sometimes I think she gets too many shoes,” he said. “But I learned to just deal with it.”


Court records showed signs of a troubled relationship. Last year, Smith was convicted of misdemeanor grand theft for taking a car. He pleaded guilty after prosecutors dropped two felony charges and he got 180 days in jail and three years’ probation.

Flynn filed a small claims court action against him.

In the TLC episode, Flynn purchased her 15,000th shoe item and outlined her plans for her own shoe line.

“I’ll be surrounded by shoes when I die,” she said.



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