Lisa Elizabeth Holman was born November 17, 1981, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she grew up living with her mother and father and older sister, Jessica. Her home and school life as a child was average, and she and Jessica were close in spite of their five-year age difference.
The girls' father was hard-working man who liked his beer in the evening, but never was considered a problem drinker. He was not abusive and his evening beers never interfered with his going to work or functioning normally. Lisa considered it a normal event to relax after work with a beer or two — or more.
Lisa had secretarial training in high school, and then enrolled in an adult education course to improve her computer knowledge. She completed a course that awarded her a "certificate of proficiency" and enabled her to get a good office job with decent pay.
She followed the "love of her life," Matthew Grimes, to Oxford in January 2014, when he got a job with the grounds crew at Ole Miss. The stress of moving and the new job seemed to change Matthew, and when he shoved her one evening, she left him.
Lisa met John Reagle through a mutual friend, Janet Ginsborough, who knew that John and his wife had separated in December 2013 and that other relationships of John's had not lasted.
Lisa liked John's warm, engaging personality and sense of humor. They hit it off and, after a few weeks of dating, decided they were compatible enough to live together. Lisa was lonely after the breakup of her long-term relationship with Matthew, so welcomed John's company and moved in with him in April 2014.
After getting a DUI citation in May, Lisa decided to change her life for the better and went to Alcoholics Anonymous. The meeting was an eye-opener for her. Listening to the stories of people whose lives had been drastically changed by their commitment to the program, she realized she too could change her life through AA.
She realized that her "social drinking" was actually a drinking problem and that her father had been an alcoholic. Though her father's drinking was seemingly "not a problem," she knew how worrisome it has always been to her mother.
Lisa encouraged John to go to meetings with her, but he wasn't interested. He insisted he had no problem with alcohol, but Lisa could see he was like her father.
After several weeks, she realized it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be successful in the AA program while living with a problem drinker who had no interest in changing.
John began to resent Lisa attending meetings nearly every day. The conflict became so intense that Lisa decided to move out. It came as no surprise to John, who was glad to see her go so he could comfortably continue his lifestyle without hassle.
Coincidentally, in mid-June Lisa's sister, Jessica, had contacted her from Louisiana to tell her that there was a job opening in the insurance office where she worked. She knew Lisa would qualify for the job and invited Lisa to move in with her for a time until she got settled. Lisa saw it as a sign that her life-changing strategy was beginning to work. She informed John of her plans, then left town.
When the rumors were flying that the hand John Reagle was found with might be Lisa's, Janet Ginsborough phoned Lisa in Louisiana. Lisa then phoned the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department to inform them of her whereabouts.