A North Carolina man suspected of fatally shooting his girlfriend allegedly misled the woman’s family in the hours after the killing by fabricating a tale about how the slain woman was quarantined after contracting the coronavirus.
Christopher Mock, 45, was a person of interest in his girlfriend Toni Handy’s disappearance and death, but was killed in a shootout with Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies last week, authorities said.
Before his fatal showdown with authorities and prior to the discovery of Handy’s body, Mock allegedly invented a story claiming he and his girlfriend had tested positive for the disease COVID-19 and were subject to quarantine, the woman’s family said, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
Handy was last seen alive at a Murphy Express gas station in Winston-Salem, according to local television station WHNS.
The woman’s daughter believes her mother vanished on March 21. Gidget Spencer, who told local media she spoke with her mother regularly, found it suspicious when her mother stopped replying to her messages and didn’t show up at work.
“My mom called me every day to talk to my baby,” Spencer told the Winston-Salem Journal. “I had a feeling something was up, because like I said my mom never goes a day without calling me. I had a feeling.”
Several days passed and Spencer was still unable to reach her mother. Mock then reportedly reached out to the woman’s daughter using her mother’s Facebook account in an attempt to reassure her that Handy was safe.
“[Mock] was like, ‘Hey Gidget, it’s Chris,” Spencer recalled, the Journal reported. “‘I’m fishing at Tuckertown lake. I’ll have her call you when I get back to the truck.’”
However, Handy’s daughter said the promised call never came. After threatening to phone the police on March 23, Mock messaged Spencer again, this time claiming he and his girlfriend had contracted COVID-19, and that the couple had been quarantined.
“Basically it said ‘Hey it’s me again, me and your mom went and got tested for coronavirus, and your mom’s came back positive,’” Spencer added. “She said Mock told her Handy was in quarantine, and he was in a holding cell with Handy’s cellphone.”
Mock claimed he had Handy’s cell phone while they were being isolated.
However, shortly afterward, authorities allegedly found her mother’s body at the woman’s Winston-Salem home.
The following day Mock was shot dead by Forsyth County authorities.
On March 24, shortly before 2 p.m., deputies on routine patrol pinpointed Mock’s vehicle and attempted a traffic stop in the Winston-Salem suburb of Clemmons. The 45-year-old refused to pull over and instead stepped on the gas, according to law enforcement. One bystander was hospitalized and four vehicles were damaged in the ensuing vehicle chase.
The pursuit allegedly ended after Mock was reportedly shot by a Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy. It’s unclear if Mock exchanged gunfire with authorities, however, officials confirmed a firearm was recovered from the scene of the shooting. Shell casings appeared to be scattered surrounding a truck riddled with bullet holes, local media reported late week.
Mock was taken to a hospital but was later pronounced dead, according to Greensboro television station WFMY-TV.
A motive isn’t currently known in Handy’s slaying, nor has the cause of death been released. An autopsy is currently pending in Handy’s killing, officials stated.
“I just want to know why,” Spencer told WHNS. “She didn’t deserve what he did to her, at all.”
Deputies involved in the shooting have since been placed on administrative leave, officials said.
“The deputies will be cooperating with the investigation during this time and we will also be utilizing resources to meet their emotional and mental health needs,” Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement last Tuesday.
“We will continue to provide updates as appropriate, as we continue to confirm information.”
Oxygen.com was unable to immediately reach the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office or the Winston-Salem Police Department for comment on Tuesday.
Mock was previously arrested for assaulting a woman in 2006, according to court records. However, the case was dismissed the following year. He was also arrested for robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1997 but those charges, too, were dismissed. In 1994, he was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods.
Handy’s family said they’ll remember the 46-year-old woman as a loving parent and grandmother, who would “help anybody.”
The 46-year-old had four children and seven grandchildren, her family said.