Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Dateline

“I Will Get Great Pleasure in Tearing Her Apart," Aspiring Actor Writes in Chilling Note Before Murder

California mom LaJoya McCoy believed someone was stalking her during the last days of her life. 

By Jill Sederstrom
A photo of Jose Roberto Turner

In the last days of LaJoya McCoy’s life, the California single mom of two knew she was in danger. 

How to Watch

Catch up on Dateline: Unforgettable on Peacock or the Oxygen App.

McCoy told her closest friends she believed someone was stalking her. She thought the person was even getting into her house somehow and moving things around. 

“The first thing that came to my mind was like, 'You’re under a lot of stress, you know, it’s easy to forget where you leave things or misplace things.' I told her, ‘It happens to all of us, I think you’re just a little stressed,’” her best friend Eva Mendoza told Dateline: Unforgettable.  

But on June 10, 2015, McCoy, a beautiful 31-year-old boutique owner and auditor for Los Angeles County, disappeared. 

RELATED: New Jersey Man Chillingly Timed How Long It Took Him to Murder Friend in Cold Blood

McCoy was supposed to pick her little sister up at the bus stop that day. Her sister came all the way from Las Vegas to help McCoy with her two young children, but McCoy never arrived at the bus station.

Her uncle David Clark picked his young niece up instead. 

Her family hoped that maybe McCoy had just lost track of time, but after two days passed and no one heard from her, McCoy’s worried mother called the Monrovia Police. 

“I’m thinking that she might be sick or unconscious in her apartment,” she told authorities in the call. 

Monrovia Police went to McCoy’s apartment to conduct a welfare check, but no one answered the door and nothing looked out of the ordinary. 

It wasn’t until a third welfare check to the property days later that a detective forced his way inside through a window and discovered a grisly scene inside. 

While there was no sign of McCoy, her bedroom was covered in blood. The detective saw bloodstains on the carpet, the wall, and her mattress. Someone had also taken the bedding from the apartment. 

RELATED: What Really Happened During the Infamous Murder of Italian Fashion Icon Maurizio Gucci

“The kids room [was] totally disheveled,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Eddie Brown said. “The drawers were taken out, some of them were on the floor, some of them were partially open, clothing materials on the floor. It looked like a mess.” 

McCoy's car, purse, and cell phone were also missing.

Investigators quickly put out a bulletin for her car and within hours her silver Toyota was spotted parked on a residential street not far from her apartment. McCoy’s body was inside. 

“She had a ligature mark around her neck,” Brown said. 

Her family was devastated.

“I just felt like my world had ended,” her younger sister Brianna told the show. “It was tough.” 

It didn’t take authorities long to zero in on a suspect in the grisly slaying, McCoy’s ex-boyfriend and father of her two children, Jose Turner. 


RELATED: Minnesota Teen Mysteriously Disappears after Partying with Friends — What Happened to Her?

Dateline stories often have a twist no one saw coming. This one didn’t and that made it memorable,” Dateline reporter Josh Mankiewicz explained of what made the story “unforgettable.” “Long before police unrolled any crime scene tape in this case the writing was on the wall and it was as clear as a blinking danger sign.”

When McCoy and Turner, an aspiring actor and playwright, met years earlier, it seemed like a great match, but by the time the relationship dissolved, those who knew the couple were learning it had been no fairytale romance. 

Clark and his wife, Alicia, were startled awake around 2 one morning in April 2013 to the sound of frantic banging on their front door. 

They opened the door and discovered McCoy, half-naked and terrified. She’d ran from her home after an argument with Turner suddenly turned violent, leaping over a large cast iron fence surrounding the Clark’s apartment just to get to their door.

They say she told them Turner had started to choke her, but she fought back and was able to get away.  

“I’ve never in my life seen her that way,” Clark said of his hysterical niece.

McCoy ended the relationship, but never called police, fearing it may only make Turner more upset. 


RELATED: Was a College Student’s Brutal Murder an Occult Sacrifice or a Cold-Blooded Betrayal?

Instead, she focused on herself, taking a trip to Europe, opening her own clothing boutique, and spending time with her children. 

“What she wanted to do was definitely be her own boss to spend more time with her kids. She just wanted them to have, like, the best life,” Mendoza said. 

McCoy had even started dating again, posting an image on Facebook just before her death of her with a new love interest. 

“OK, he made me breakfast and has a rooftop pool … he’s a keeper!” she captioned the shots. 

RELATED: Who Killed a Successful Businessman on the Streets of Puerto Rico?

But while many aspects of her life were going well, McCoy also got the eerie feeling that someone was stalking her and believed it was Turner.

Detectives discovered a blood-soaked note in her car that she had written chronicling the stalking incidents. 

“I get a flat tire after he says he’s in my area,” she wrote.

RELATED: Was 2-Year-Old Who Went Missing from Missouri Backyard Taken by “Someone Who Wanted a Baby”?

Even more damaging, authorities found Turner’s DNA under her fingernails and inside her car. During a search of his vehicle, they also found items that had been taken from her apartment and a green notebook with notes scrawled in his own handwriting, expressing his anger at his former partner. 

“I will get great pleasure in tearing her apart,” he wrote. 

The evidence was enough to arrest Turner for the murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to 26 years to life behind bars. 

“I was heartbroken, yet very relieved my sister got justice,” Brianna said. 

Her two young children are now being raised by McCoy’s aunt and uncle, David and Alicia Clark.