Friends Believe Instagram Influencer's Death Was Foul Play: 'This Was a Murder'
Police continue to investigate the suspicious death of Alexis Sharkey
Ahead of a planned memorial, friends of Alexis Sharkey are opening up about the Instagram influencer's death, telling local media they believe that the "smart" and "funny" 26-year-old social media star was the victim of foul play.
"Without a doubt in my mind, foul play was involved, and this was a murder," friend Lauren Norling-Martin told KHOU.
A dump truck driver working his route discovered Sharkey's naked body alongside a Houston road Saturday morning. Her body had no obvious wounds or signs of trauma, authorities have said.
A preliminary autopsy on Sharkey's remains did not rule out foul play in her death, and officials tell PEOPLE additional testing will be performed on the body before a final determination of death is made.
Brittney Pember, another of Sharkey's friends, also spoke to KHOU about the social media influencer, saying that "she was just like the light of the room. She was just so smart and so funny.'
The friends met two years ago, working for a company that sells hair and skincare products. Sharkey was a natural, selling her way to the title of executive director.
"She worked her butt off to get to where she was and to see such success in a person who is just a couple years older than me, was absolutely incredible," Pember said.
While Pember did not comment on whether she believes Sharkey was intentionally killed, the woman's grieving mother believes she was a victim of a homicide.
"The way in which she was found — my child would never do that to herself," her mom, Stacey Robinault, told KPRC-TV.
"That doesn't even make sense," Robinault continued. "That is absolutely foul play. There is nothing to me that suggests that this was an accident. And there's nothing to me that suggests anything else, other than that this was done to her."
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The social media star stopped responding to calls and messages on Saturday, instilling fears among her relatives and friends that something was wrong.
In an interview with KTRK-TV, a friend explained that Sharkey had said on a trip in October she feared for her safety.
"She confided in me that night ... she's petrified," an unnamed friend told KTRK. "This girl is scared for her life."
Police have yet to comment on a potential motive or the existence of a possible person of interest in this case.
At this point, no arrests have been made.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for Sharkey's memorial.