Air Force SSgt Shelby Orelup Murdered by an Airman She Dated Briefly, SSgt Phillip Arindain Sentenced to Life in Prison (2003)

Honoring SSgt Shelby Orelup @USAirForce (2003)

Shelby Orelup, US Air Force

On February 28, 2003, SSgt Shelby Dawn Orelup, US Air Force, 22, was found dead in a drainage ditch on the Access Road at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was beaten, sodomized and raped before she was strangled according to an autopsy report. Investigators believe that she was murdered at a different location and her body was dumped near the base. Orelup was a mother to a two year old and a fuels instructor with the 366th Training Squadron at the base. She wanted to go to law school and become an attorney. Orelup formed a relationship with SSgt Phillip Arindain at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in 2002. Although they were at different bases stateside stationed six hours apart, they maintained a long distance relationship. Arindain was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. He was married with one child. Shelby’s family felt like he was nice at first but he started to become possessive and controlling of Shelby. She broke things off with him a few months later.

The FBI, Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), and the Wichita Police Department worked on the investigation. Investigators learned that two weeks before Arindain murdered Shelby she asked him to watch her daughter and he brought her daughter back on February 27th. They also learned the motive was Arindain suspected she was seeing someone. In August 2003, SSgt Arindain was arrested and charged with Shelby’s murder. He was held at the Wichita County Jail because Sheppard AFB does not have a detention facility. He was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Air Force stated they were not going to seek the death penalty. In 2004, Arindain was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a general courts martial at Sheppard AFB. He was found innocent on the charges of felony murder, rape and forcible sodomy. He received a life sentence with the possibility of parole and was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. Judge, Colonel Mary Boone said that it is unclear when Arindain will eligible for parole.

“Shelby lived her life at 110 percent. She gave 110 percent to the military, she gave 110 percent to her family and friends and to her daughter, Orelup said. I feel that just punishment for him would have been life without parole because he needed to give 110 percent for killing her.” -Shirley Orelup (Shelby’s Mom)

Related Links:
Arrest made in death of city woman
New Mexico airman charged in death near Wichita Falls base
Cannon airman guilty of killing
Cannon airman convicted in girlfriend’s death
Ex-Air Force Man Gets Life in Murder
Former airman gets life for slaying
Airman sentenced to life in prison for murder
‘Suspicious’ death: Student airman with stab wound dies in hospital (2008)

6 thoughts on “Air Force SSgt Shelby Orelup Murdered by an Airman She Dated Briefly, SSgt Phillip Arindain Sentenced to Life in Prison (2003)

  1. I’m the mother on SSgt Shelby Orelup. Shirley Orelup I want to thank all of you for keeping Shelby’s memory alive Shelby was a good and loving mother and friend to all who knew her. Shelby is missed every day.

    • .I was a soldier that transported murderer back and forth from county to the JAG office on base and stand watch all day there. I hated what happened and am still angered by such evil in the world. God bless the family.

    • I’m a female veteran and I just want to say I’m so sorry for what happened to Shelby and your family. RIP sister

  2. Staff Sgt Jason P Arindain was SENTENCE 17 MAY 2004: Dishonorable Discharge, reduction to grade E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and CONFINEMENT FOR LIFE. SENTENCED GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL USAF For the Rape and Unpremeditated Murder of Staff Sgt Shelby Dawn Orelup. This I Don’t understand why this MURDERER get to put our family thru hell every year going before the Parole Board every year.
    The Appellants Court Concluded the court findings were Affirmed USAF COURT OF APPEALS..

    • I remember his joking all the way through his trial the year I transported him. He was very light hearted about it all until his last ride after his sentencing. That was much more intense experience. I hope he never gets paroled. I will try to stay informed on this.

  3. I was deeply involved in Arindain’s case. To this day I still remember the investigation as if it was yesterday; it left that much of a mark on me. He was/is an evil being and it is my prayer that he never is allowed freedom. His nonchalant demeanor throughout the case spoke volumes as to his complete lack of humanity. There is a truly special place in Hell for “people” such as him. My thoughts and prayers will always be with Shelby’s family and I hope they are well and have found some semblance of peace. It was a complete travesty that he was given the future opportunity to be paroled. Hopefully he never breathes free air and continues to slowly rot in prison, plagued by continuous nightmares of what he did.

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