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Man Who Impersonated His Ex Girlfriend For Months In Texts To Her Family Is Found Guilty Of Her Murder
Brian Sluss was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the death of Monica Moynan, whose body has never been found.
A North Carolina man who posed as his ex-girlfriend for months in texts and messages to her family to keep her disappearance a secret has been convicted of killing the 22-year-old.
Brian Sluss was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Thursday for the death of Monica Moynan, although her body has never been recovered, WRAL reports.
When the guilty verdict was returned, Moynan’s family—including her mother Melanie Tucker—cheered and embraced, marking an end to a tragic chapter for the family, who was led to believe for months that the mother of two was alive and well living in Holly Hills.
Police believe Moynan was killed in April of 2019 while she was living with Sluss and the couple’s two children, but over the next three months Sluss pretended to be his ex-girlfriend on social media and in text messages, regularly messaging her family about everything from family birthday plans to concerns that a lost cat could upset her daughter, People reports.
In one message, she appeared to text her sister about training to become a doula.
“It’s going great,” the text read. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I love it so much.”
The family finally discovered the elaborate ruse after Tucker had been unable to reach her daughter by phone and a manager at her daughter’s apartment complex told her she hadn’t seen the 22-year-old since the end of March.
Investigators would later discover Moynan’s blood on a kitchen tile under a children’s play mat and evidence that suggested someone had tried to clean the area with bleach, according to The News Observer.
Prosecutors argued that Sluss killed his ex-girlfriend sometime on April 6, 2019 or April 7, 2019 before disposing of her body at an unknown location.
Investigators established the timeline after noting that Moynan had stopped showing up to the restaurant where she worked as a waitress and her regular habits, like regular grocery store purchases, stopped.
Authorities also discovered that after that date, her social media usage drastically dropped. While her internet search history had once shown she often looked up aspects related to her life, like her goal of becoming a doula, after April 7, 2019 the phone was used to look up porn sites and her credit cards had been used to pay for Sluss’ dating sites.
Her body was never found but the conviction marked one of the first cases in the state to successfully use Britny’s Law, a state law that allows first-degree murder charges to be filed against someone accused of killing a significant other if they have a past conviction of domestic violence against the same victim.
Before her death, Sluss and Moynan had a volatile relationship and he’d previously been convicted in 2019 for assaulting her. She also took out a protective order against him in 2017.
During the three-week trial, Moynan’s best friend Alex Wilson took the stand to recount how Moynan had confided in her that Sluss had choked her on two separate occasions.
“She saw the lights go out, and that’s just all she can remember,” Wilson testified, according to WTVD. “She said she almost died.”
Wilson said Moynan had “wanted to get away” from Sluss, a man 20 years her senior, before she was killed.
Sluss admitted to fabricating the social media and text conversations during the trial but maintained that he had never killed his ex, and insisted she had left the family on her own volition.
After the guilty verdict was handed down Thursday, Moynan’s family was given an opportunity to address the court.
“A piece of our family puzzle is gone forever,” Tucker said, according to the local paper. “I will never get to listen to her, be cozy with her or talk to her about all the things, literally, all the things ... (Sluss) ended the life of a beautiful, strong-willed, independent, super fun, funny and intelligent, yet vulnerable, special young mom.”
Her stepfather Brandon Tucker also described the anguish the death has caused her family.
“There is a mental agony in knowing what you did to Moni,” he said. “An agony that causes sleepless nights and leaves an eternal hole in our hearts.”
Kathryn Pomeroy, the Wake County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, thanked investigators for giving their “time, money and heart” to the case.
“The one thing I had always wanted was to be able to bring her body home and I couldn’t do that for the (family), that is a regret I will always have,” she said outside the courtroom. “But to get this justice today means everything.”
Moynan’s family is still hopeful that one day they will find her remains.
“We will never stop hoping for her to be brought home so we can lay her to rest properly and be near to her,” Tucker and her husband said in a statement to People.
Moynan’s two daughter, now ages 6 and 3, have been adopted by the Tuckers.
“We have and will continue to make sure they know how fantastic their mommy was and how they were her world!,” they said. “Her love for them was larger than life and they know this.”