Family and friends identified Sydney Elysse Land and Nehemiah “Neo” Kauffman as the 20-something couple found dead inside a southwest Las Vegas apartment Thursday.
A friend of Kauffman who hadn’t heard from him in a few days went to check on him at Union Apartments, 4450 S. Hualapai Way, and found the couple dead at 12:40 p.m. Thursday.
The couple had been dead at least a day, police investigators said, but they didn’t identify the couple.
But the woman’s employer, the Palm restaurant at the Forum Shops at Caesars, released a statement Friday that read, “We are devastated to hear about the passing of Sydney Land and Neo Kauffman.”
Land’s mother, Connie Land, said her daughter had a beautiful soul.
“I dropped her off at work. And even her co-worker, who I didn’t know, stopped me to tell me that I had a special daughter,” Connie Land said Saturday, recalling her last memory of her daughter. “That’s the last time I saw her. And the people who knew Sydney were blessed to have someone like her in their life.”
Rick Jones, a friend of the Land family, said, “Sydney was like a big sister to Alex, my daughter. She was very sweet, kind, goofy and loving.”
Kauffman was remembered for his athletic excellence at Arbor View High School, where he played junior varsity and varsity football and varsity basketball during his freshman through junior years. Kauffman graduated from Centennial High School this year, after transferring there for his senior year.
“Neo was a very talented young man athletically,” said Kyle Hageness, Kauffman’s varsity basketball coach. “He had large potential in basketball. He was very, very hardworking and had the ability to really do something with basketball.”
“People gravitated towards him,” Jordin Ramirez, who thought of Kauffman as a brother, said. “He had the ability to make you smile and laugh even if you were in the worst mood. You couldn’t be around him and not smile.”
Kauffman “always had your back” on and off the court, said Justin Burks, a former Arbor View teammate. “He was a great friend.”
Ramirez and his father started a fitness clothing company called perFIcT lifestyle that Kauffman promoted. The family is selling “teamperFIcT” shirts to Kauffman’s close friends that read “Long Live Neo” on the sleeve as a tribute to him. Proceeds will help with Kauffman’s funeral expenses, Ramirez said.
Jones has set up a GoFundMe account to help with Land’s funeral expenses.
In a statement Friday, police said they had no motive and no suspects.
“Evidence at the scene suggests that there may be two adult male suspects,” police said.
Review-Journal Reporter Jessica Terrones contributed to this story.