Updated September 10, 2019 - 9:50 pm
North Las Vegas police on Tuesday arrested Paula Davis’ 21-year-old ex-boyfriend in connection with her death.
Giovanni Ruiz faces a charge of murder with a deadly weapon, according to a North Las Vegas Police Department news release. Davis, 19, was found dead in her van Friday at Desert Horizons Park in North Las Vegas.
She graduated as a musical theater major from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and played many instruments, her friends said. The academy is a magnet school, or a public school with specialized areas of focus.
Davis played the lead role of Maria in the academy’s performance of “The Sound of Music” her senior year.
She was studying economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, when she was killed. Ruiz graduated with a bachelor’s of science in business administration in May and is enrolled as a graduate student studying accounting.
Davis’ family reported her missing Friday night and, after tracking her phone, discovered her body. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled her death a homicide from a gunshot wound to the head.
Davis’ friends on Tuesday described her as a kind, loving young woman who brought light into the lives of everyone she met.
“I’ve been racking my brain for days trying to figure out who in the world who knew her would do something so violent,” Bridgette Long said Tuesday afternoon. “She never wished anything but love on everyone she encountered.”
Isaiah Calalang, another of Davis’ friends, said he didn’t know Ruiz. He and Davis graduated from the magnet school last year, and Calalang now attends college in Kentucky.
“It’s still shocking,” Calalang said after hearing about Ruiz’s arrest. “At least it’s a step forward in finding out what happened.”
Davis was known for being the friendly face people needed to see every day, Calalang said earlier Tuesday.
He said if anyone was stressed, she was always able to get him or her laughing.
Long, who also attended high school with Davis, said Davis had wanted to to work for the FBI, which “fit her perfectly because she was so smart and always wanted to help people.”
When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Davis’ family declined to comment.
Ruiz was being held at the Las Vegas Detention Center on Wednesday night. He did not appear to have a criminal history in Clark County, according to online court records.
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