The first thing Alea did after she learned of 20-year-old Crystal Rivera’s slaying Monday was get a tattoo in her honor.
Now she bears over her heart an orange-and-blue sparrow holding cherries in its beak to remind her of her former roommate and best friend, found shot to death in a car outside a suburban West Palm Beach convenience store.
“I wouldn’t spend 200 dollars to stick a tattoo on my chest if she wasn’t (a good person),” Alea, who declined to give her last name, said Tuesday.
“She was a person you could call in the middle of the night and she’d come over. She wouldn’t give a (expletive) if she had to walk 10 miles — she’d get there.”
Found with Rivera was Justin Moyer, 33, of Greenacres. The Palm Beach Lakes High School graduate was a rapper who performed under the name Jbo Hithard and had just returned from a six-week tour of the Great Plains and west coast cities, his mother, Valli Moyer, said Tuesday.
Friends and family members said the 6-foot-9 Moyer had “a giant heart” to match his size, especially toward his young son.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office found the bodies of Rivera and Moyer shortly after 3:15 a.m. Monday at Belvedere and Drexel roads west of the city limits.
The two were in a black Chevrolet Malibu parked in front of the Fast Stop In Go convenience store. Authorities believe two may have been shot about 2 miles away at Okeechobee Boulevard and Military Trail.
Two females and a male were outside the car, and one was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening gunshot wounds, the sheriff’s office said.
Detectives had no updates on their investigation Tuesday morning. Rivera and Moyer were the 39th and 40th confirmed homicides in Palm Beach County this year, according to a Palm Beach Post online database.
Moyer’s family said kids liked to climb the lifelong Palm Beach County resident “like a human jungle gym” because he was so tall. Members described him as the type of friend to protect his loved ones and to speak in court in support of his friends.
“The judges would be so impressed, they said they’d look at the case differently because of him,” Valli Moyer said.
The sheriff’s office’s arrest records indicate that Justin Moyer had been arrested 16 times from 2002 to 2016. His mother said he changed how he lived once after his son’s birth six years ago and his brother’s death three years ago. Past charges included battery, for which he served a year of probation in 2002, according to Palm Beach County court records.
Valli Moyer said her son’s tour ended early and he visited her in her home in Texas. Justin Moyer’s Facebook profile shows a video of him being interviewed at a Colorado Springs hip-hop station. He wrote that it was his first promotional interview for the tour.
It Is With A Heavy Heart I Regret To Inform Everyone— Cameron Airborne (@CameronAirborne) June 5, 2018
My Friend, My Family JBO HITHARD Has Passed 😔
He Was An Extremely Talented And Dedicated Individual Who Was Bigger Than Life, And It Hurts Me I Have To Write This.
After Touring The Country With You Over The Past Couple Months pic.twitter.com/FLc9QKv5vP
Alea said she and Rivera, who lived in Wellington, met about a year ago when she moved to Palm Beach County from Memphis. She said the two worked at strip clubs in South Florida. Rivera’s Facebook and Twitter accounts indicate she worked as a stripper at a venue in Palm Beach County.
Some of her co-workers describe Rivera as a sweet girl who was taken too young.
“There was rarely a time when I’d see her and she wasn’t smiling,” said Sydney Wolfe, a co-worker. “There wasn’t a moment (with her) that wasn’t my favorite.”
Valli Moyer said she had never met Rivera. She said she did not know why they were together early Monday, but guessed they were acquaintances or had mutual friends. The two are friends on Facebook, according to their profiles.
Both Alea and Moyer’s friends said they were thankful their last conversations were loving.
“Thank God the last thing I said was, ‘I love you! I’m going to work,’ ’’ Alea said.
“The last time I saw him when I dropped him off at the airport and he picked me up off the air,” Valli Moyer said while choking up. “He was joking about my grandson, and he said how much he loved me and kissed me on the cheek.”