Ricarda Tillman-Locket was born on April 12, 1984 on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska. Throughout her life, Ricarda also lived in Sioux City before moving to Memphis, Tennessee permanently at the age of 19. Within a few years, she married Lou Locket before having a son. After separating from her husband, Ricarda had been staying in a battered-woman's shelter in Memphis, and she had a stable job at a restaurant in downtown Memphis. Her mother describes Ricarda as the life of the party; she was always making everyone laugh and she was a fun-loving and beautiful young woman who would not abandon her child or family. Ricarda's boss told investigators that she was a reliable employee, who would not miss work unexcused, it was very uncharacteristic for her to leave without telling anyone.