Friends of Amanda Borsos and Troy Penn say that while they were concerned about differences between the two, they saw no signs foretelling the murder-suicide that ended the pair’s lives on Wednesday.
Amanda was shot to death on her 17th birthday by her ex-boyfriend, 18-year-old Penn, while she was working at Four Paws Pet Care and Kennel in Deerfield Township. Penn later killed himself.
“I heard that he was like stalking her and stuff.… He would harass her on Facebook, upload photos of him and her,… but I didn’t think it was that big of a concern,” said Alee Stewart, 17. “I love them both and miss them both.”
Amanda Borsos & Troy Penn. Photo provided
Amanda and Troy were about to start their senior year in high school – Amanda, at Little Miami, and Troy, at Kings. He also attended Warren County Career Center, where he was enrolled in an art-related course of study, Alee said.
Grief counselors were on hand at Little Miami and Kings to help the couple’s peers as other effects of the dual tragedy rippled through the community Thursday.
Amanda was known as a soft-spoken student with an interest in writing and art, school officials said. She was enrolled in journalism, sculpture, mixed-media and advanced drawing courses.
She was a cheerleader during her freshman year.
Her sister, Sara, graduated from Little Miami in 2010.
“This is such a tragic loss for the Borsos family, our students, teachers and community,” said interim Superintendent Greg Power. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both of these students.”
Kings Principal Doug Mader said Penn had attended Kings schools since 2004 and was well-liked. “The Kings community is grieving for the Borsos and Penn families,” Mader said.
Police investigators continued their work Thursday but released no answers to questions such as: Where did Troy get the gun? Why did a teen with no apparent history of violence resort to murder-suicide after a romance broke up?
The teens’ shattered families sought privacy as they began making funeral arrangements.
Adding to the stress for Amanda’s family: Her mother, Michelle, has been battling cancer, friends said, though Amanda revealed little about that ordeal to most people.
Flowers and other thoughtful gestures showered the doggie day care where Amanda worked and was slain. Rob Ashe, owner of Four Paws Pet Care and Kennel, said he felt angry that Amanda’s life ended this way.
“There are so many kids who want to work here – hundreds,” Ashe said.
But Amanda stood out when she confidently looked him in the eye and declared that she really wanted to work there so she could save money for cosmetology school.
Amanda’s co-workers marveled at how she was always stylishly dressed, with makeup and hair always done just so, despite the sometimes-dirty tasks involved with kennel work, Ashe said.
And she clearly loved the dogs, he said.
When Amanda was shot, she was supervising a group of smaller dogs as they frolicked in a side yard.
There probably were animal-motif decorations and cupcakes waiting at Amanda’s home for a post-work birthday celebration that never happened, her friends say.
Alee said she knew Amanda had broken up with Troy recently, and she said Amanda had spent at least one recent night at another friend’s house “so she didn’t have to be around him.”
Alee said she will miss the way Troy always seemed to be able to make her laugh.
“He was probably the funniest kid I knew. He always cheered me up,” she said.
Once, last winter, on a dare from her, “he wore ‘Hello Kitty’ slipper boots and bright pink skinny jeans to school.… He wore them all through the halls,” Alee said. “He got called so many names for it, and he really honestly didn’t care.”
Alee said she will miss the same thing about Amanda: her ability to make her smile and laugh.
A friend who was closer to Amanda, Heaven Harden, 18, said Amanda talked little about Troy to her because Amanda knew Heaven had issues with him.
“I didn’t like how controlling he was,” Heaven said. “Everybody told her she shouldn’t be with him, but she wouldn’t listen. She saw the good in everyone.”
Heaven called Amanda “probably the sweetest girl I’ve ever known.”
If anything was bothering Heaven, she said, Amanda would talk to her for hours and try to help her figure out what to do.
Heaven said Amanda shared her love of metal music, and took her to her first concert, a group called Greeley Estates playing at The Attic in Dayton.
Amanda frequently made elaborately braided “friendship bracelets,” and wore them, too, Heaven said.
“Our world is going to be different without her,” Heaven said. “She was the best friend to a lot of people. She was outgoing and she was so nice.”
Heaven said that, in hindsight, there probably is a lesson to be learned from what happened to Amanda and Troy.
“Be careful and don’t hide anything. Your friends are there for you, and your family is there for you. You shouldn’t feel like anyone is controlling and you have no way out.”
Services will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Vale-Hoskins Funeral Home, 513 W. Pike St., in Warren County’s Salem Township.
Friends may call two hours prior. Donations may be made to the Amanda Borsos Memorial Fund at Lebanon Citizens National Bank.