FORT WORTH -- The shooting death of Hilary Eaton hit officials at Union Gospel Mission hard.
The 39-year-old mother of three had stayed at the homeless shelter twice in recent years, worked her way into housing, started a small cleaning business and studied at Tarrant County College.
She was found dead Saturday in her small home, and police arrested a suspect Monday.
"We talked about it in our meeting," said Don Shisler, mission president. "You just feel sad that it happened."
Frank Byrd, 34, was in the Mansfield Jail on Tuesday facing a murder charge, police said. Bail was set at $500,000.
An investigation determined that Byrd and Eaton "began to argue" Jan. 4 and that Eaton was shot once in the head, according to a statement from Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman.
Police did not elaborate on what started the argument but said Eaton and Byrd knew each other through mutual friends.
Eaton lived across the street from an elementary school in the 1300 block of Kings Highway, on the Haltom City border.
Her body was found by a woman who told police that her father had asked her to go by the residence because he had not been able to reach his girlfriend by phone.
After knocking on the front door, the woman looked in a window and saw Eaton's body on the bedroom floor, according to a preliminary police report. Two acquaintances with the woman kicked open a door, found blood near Eaton's body and called police.
The last time Eaton stayed at the mission was more than a year ago, officials said. She stayed there once with her youngest son and another time on her own.
She participated in family and adult programs and had caseworkers while at the shelter.
"She was a bubbly person," said Betty McIlroy, mission program director. "She was friendly and did work to try and make her life better."
Eaton cleaned houses part time when she stayed at the shelter, so officials were not surprised to learn that she had started her own cleaning business, Krstal Klean Home and Office Kleaning.
For those who experience homelessness, starting a business can sometimes be easier than persuading someone to hire them, Shisler said.
On her Facebook page, Eaton called her three sons her inspiration.
"I am very proud of them and almost can't believe with them being my boys that they grew up to be intelligent young men who will definitely leave their marks on the world," Eaton wrote.
Union Gospel officials said they hadn't seen Eaton in a while, which isn't unusual, Shisler said. Shortly after clients move into housing, they often return to the mission to visit caseworkers and other clients. Over time, they get busy and lose touch.
"Every now and then, you run into a client out there and they tell you how their life is," he said. "You always hope they're doing well."
Every December, the mission has a memorial service for homeless or formerly homeless people who died that year. Mourners gather in the mission's chapel and light candles. This year, a candle will burn for Eaton.
Alex Branch, 817-390-7689