A former Mitt Romney staffer who'd traveled to New Orleans to celebrate his engagement and plan his upcoming nuptials was murdered over the weekend in what police suspect was a robbery turned deadly.
Thomas Rolfes, 25, and his fiancée had met in New Orleans on Friday to find a location for their wedding. The couple both graduated from the city's Tulane University.
But on Saturday, their dreams of a white wedding and future together were dashed when Rolfes was discovered shot to death on a major street near the city's business district, according to reports.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said Rolfes suffered injuries to his hands, indicating a struggle.
“At some point the robbery turned deadly,” Harrison said. “By the injuries of his hands, it appears there may have been some type of struggle.”
Rolfes had met up with 10 to 15 of his friends in a New Orleans bar prior to the tragedy. Before Rolfes and one of his friends left, the friend briefly popped back inside the bar.
When he came back outside, Rolfes was gone, The Advocate reported. While the friend never him again, Rolfes was seen on surveillance footage buying bottled water in a completely different part of town.
Near the convenience store where he made the purchase, Rolfes was found around 4:30 a.m. having suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. His wallet was missing.
Police have no suspects.
In a tearful interview with WWL, Rolfes' grieving fiancée, Liz Friedman, said her dream engagement had become a nightmare.
"We met at Tulane and spent four amazing years in this city together," Friedman said. "I don't think I'll ever come back.
"This was my dream city. Now, it's my worst nightmare."
Fried is urging anyone who might have information that could lead to a suspect's arrest to reach out to authorities.
"Saturday morning, my life was ruined," she said. "He was such an amazing man. I want to find out who did this, who ruined my life."
Former Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, paid tribute to his former employee in a post to his Facebook page.
"Heartbreaking to hear that Thomas Rolfes was killed this weekend while in New Orleans looking for a wedding venue with his sweetheart, a fellow Tulane graduate. A senseless and tragic loss," Romney wrote."
"Thomas was a highly valued member of our 2012 campaign team. His warm smile and engaging personality lifted our spirits. His commitment and dedication to our effort made him an invaluable part of the campaign.
"Ann and I send our love and prayers to his family and fiancée," he said.