At age 14, Shelby ran away from home because of her stepfather who sexually abused her for years. Her mother was in denial, but Shelby believed that if she ran away and kept his secret, her stepfather would leave her little sister Jess alone. On the streets, Shelby became a prostitute and started using drugs. After a year, Shelby located her natural father in Los Angeles, but despite his good intentions, he could neither control his daughter nor help her with her emotional problems. Thus he made a deal with juvenile authorities that allowed her to go Horizon rather than Juvenile Hall. During the course of the show she falls deeply in love with Scott Barringer. Later, Shelby returns home after her stepfather has had a heart attack. She discovers that her stepfather had broken his promise and abused her teenage sister Jess. When Shelby calls the cops, her mother, not wanting her daughters taken from her, finally reveals the truth, and the stepfather is taken into custody. Shelby is return to Horizon.