HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County District Attorney says investigators are looking into the death of Monica Moynan, who disappeared in April, as a murder case.
Police have identified her ex-boyfriend and father of her children, Brian Sluss, as a person of interest.
District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said one of the unusual aspects of this case is that months passed between Monica’s disappearance and police getting notified in July.
In search warrants, investigators say that’s in part because her ex-boyfriend was using her phone and posing as her. They say when asked about her, he even told people she was a drug addict, which her family denies.
CBS 17 asked Freeman, “Does this hinge on finding Monica Moynan’s body or someone confessing to killing her?”
“No,” she said. “It’s certainly unusual for us to bring homicide charges where we don’t have the victim’s body, but it is not unprecedented.”
In recent weeks, multiple search warrants have been unsealed at the Wake County Justice Center, detailing evidence investigators have uncovered.
“From our investigation, we believe that Monica being pregnant may have been a factor in the incidents that led up to Monica’s death caused by Brian Sluss,” an investigator wrote in an affidavit.
Moynan’s friends and family thought messages received from her may have been from someone else. Her mother told police she and her daughter saw each other once a week, but in March they began only speaking through text message, so she requested a wellness check for Moynan on July 19.
Moynan’s ex-boyfriend had also been driving her car and had her cellphone. Virginia deputies said that when they made contact with the ex-boyfriend on July 23, they reported he had Moynan’s phone inside the car and the car had a chemical smell.
CBS 17 asked Freeman, “Are police still confident that when you all do get to the point of issuing any arrest warrants, that you’ll be able to find the person or people in case they decide to take off?”
“This is not a case where we have specific concerns about people of interest disappearing,” she said. “This is not a case in which we believe the larger public is at risk, that there’s a public safety risk.”
Freeman says another factor in this case is that juries in recent years have come to expect a certain amount of physical and forensic evidence, due in part to TV shows like “CSI”. She says they won’t move forward with charges until they feel they have enough evidence to get a conviction.
“We certainly hope for the family’s sake, that it won’t be a matter of months. But, we have several cases that we can look back to in recent history here in Wake County that have taken more than a year,” she said. “We certainly have great sympathy for her family and her friends, and we’re working diligently to try to bring this to a point where we feel comfortable we can prosecute it.”
Moynan’s family has used #JusticeForMoni on social media, saying they believe she’s a victim of domestic violence.
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence says as of the end of September, there have been 49 people killed in domestic violence homicides this year statewide.
Allison Strickland at InterAct of Wake County explained the danger people who try to leave those relationships face.
“A woman is 75 percent more likely to be killed at the time of leaving or shortly thereafter, making that the most dangerous time for them in that relationship,” she said. “So, we know that often the people who are at the greatest risk of serious injury or death are not going to walk through our doors because quite frankly it’s just too unsafe for them.”
24 HOUR CRISIS LINE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
You can call the 24 hour domestic violence crisis line at (919) 828-7740 or toll free at (866) 291-0855.
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