Samantha Colburn spent six years trying to find her father in Las Vegas and rekindle their relationship, but that search ended when he was fatally shot Monday.
“I just wanted him to be in my kids’ life,” the 35-year-old told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday. “He would disappear, and of course there’s nowhere to find him.”
Samantha Colburn said her father, 59-year-old Steven Colburn, had lost touch with his family because of an alcohol problem. As of Friday, police had yet to make an arrest in his killing.
Colburn was shot Monday night as he ran from a robbery, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said. Colburn and a woman were sitting in a vehicle about 10:45 p.m. on the 3300 block of Thom Boulevard, near Rancho Drive and Cheyenne Avenue, when an armed man ordered the two to step out of the car and give him their belongings.
Colburn ran from the man, who shot him multiple times in the torso. He died at University Medical Center, and the coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide. The woman in the car was uninjured.
Samantha Colburn, who grew up in Las Vegas but moved away two years ago, said she “looked everywhere” for her dad, hoping he could have a relationship with her two daughters, ages 13 and 6.
“He just kind of crawled into a cave and disappeared,” she said. “He don’t want to admit that he’s got a problem.”
Samantha Colburn’s mother, Linda Moncrieff, said she had about a 10-year romantic relationship with Colburn, including a four-year marriage that ended in 1988. They had two children, and she tried multiple times to support Colburn’s attempts to stay sober.
Eventually, it became too hard, she said, and the 60-year-old Henderson woman lost touch with Colburn. He had years of sobriety, but after the deaths of their son, Justin Colburn, and Steven Colburn’s mother, he started drinking again.
“He tried. It just didn’t stick this last time,” Moncrieff said.
Samantha Colburn said she last saw her father when her youngest daughter was a baby, and now the girl doesn’t remember him.
She described herself as a “daddy’s girl” growing up, and her favorite memory was camping and fishing with him. Moncrieff said that in happier times, her ex-husband “was a cowboy” who rode bulls in rodeo circuits and went horseback riding with his children.
Steven Colburn and Moncrieff, who met through friends in Las Vegas, used to go dancing with family and friends, she said. Moncrieff remembered watching her ex-husband twirl her mother around, dancing the jitterbug or two-step.
“We could sit and watch them dance all night,” she said.
Samantha Colburn and Moncrieff said they don’t know the details surrounding Steven Colburn’s death. Moncrieff wants to know who he was was with Monday, in hopes that her daughter can retrieve any belongings he left behind.
The news of her father’s death was unexpected, Samantha Colburn said. She had started to believe he died years ago. She said his death seemed “completely random,” and she hopes police can find the shooter.
“I hope justice is served,” she said. “I haven’t seen him in a while, but he was my dad and I loved him, and he didn’t deserve to die that way.”
Metro has described Colburn’s shooter as a thin man between 25 and 35 years old. Anyone with information may contact Metro’s homicide unit at 702-828-3521 or, to leave an anonymous tip, Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.