The events leading up to a Winston-Salem woman’s death came into clearer picture Wednesday after her daughter discussed the Facebook messages she received from her mother’s boyfriend.
Gidget Spencer, the daughter of Toni Renee Handy, told the Winston-Salem Journal she received several Facebook messages from her mother’s boyfriend, Christopher Joel Mock, on her mother’s Facebook account — and the messages led her to report her mother missing to police.
On Tuesday, police officers found Handy, 46, dead in her home under a pile of garbage, according to the Winston-Salem Police Department. Police are investigating Handy’s death as a homicide and listed Mock, now deceased, as a person of interest.
Earlier that day, Mock, 45, was driving Handy's truck when he led Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies on a chase in Clemmons. Mock eventually crashed and gunfire was exchanged before deputies shot and killed him.
Winston-Salem police officer Lt. Gregory Dorn told the Journal that Handy and Mock had been an on-again, off-again couple for about two years.
Before Tuesday, Spencer said she hadn’t heard from her mother in days, a cause for alarm considering the two talked daily.
“My mom called me every day to talk to my baby,” Spencer said. “Saturday, she called me on my house phone — which she never does. The whole conversation was ‘Hey sissy, I’m about to walk into work. I’ll call you later. I love you, bye.’”
Spencer said she tried calling her mother that night but didn’t get a response. She tried calling her again multiple times Sunday morning, still getting no answer. At 5 p.m., Spencer said she finally received a message from her mother’s Facebook profile, but it was from Mock.
“(He) was like ‘Hey Gidget, it’s Chris. I’m fishing at Tuckertown lake. I’ll have her call you when I get back to the truck,” Spencer said. However, Spencer said her mother never called that night.
Fishing gear could be seen in the back of Handy’s truck Tuesday at the scene of the crash and shooting.
Growing more concerned, Spencer said, she tried to call and message her mom repeatedly Monday morning but still heard nothing. It wasn’t until 2 p.m., after threatening to call the police if she didn’t hear from her mother, that she received another message from Mock — this one saying Handy had COVID-19 and was in quarantine.
“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 said. She said Mock told her Handy was in quarantine, and he was in a holding cell with Handy’s cellphone.”
On Monday evening, Spencer filed a missing person’s report.
“I had a feeling something was up, because like I said my mom never goes a day without calling me,” Spencer said. “I had a feeling.”
Dorn said investigators know of some messaging between Mock and Spencer and said the comments about COVID-19 confirmed there might be something awry.
Dorn said he is waiting for Handy’s autopsy results before officially releasing more specifics.
In the meantime, Spencer and her family are working to raise money to pay for Handy’s funeral. The family has set up a GoFundMe page, and are seeking to raise $7,000. Those wishing to donate can go to www.gofundme.com/f/funeral-burial-and-other-expenses.