WHITE OAK, Md. (DC News Now) — The body of 26-year-old Denise Middleton was found at The Enclave apartments back in December. Her family describes her as caring, a prankster, a diva, a fashion lover and selfless.

Temprest Middleton said she grew up in the same house as Denise, and they were more like sisters than cousins. Denise went to school to do hair professionally in 2021. Middleton said Denise was so excited to join the “boy mom” club with her.

When Denise was murdered, she was nearly 9 months pregnant. According to court documents, she was shot 7 times.

“When we heard how badly decomposed her body was, it was just unbelievable to believe that we had been living our lives for that loan and not knowing that she was dead,” said Middleton.

Investigators arrested 31-year-old Torrey Moore for a separate murder of Ayalew Wondimu, a 61-year-old gas station store clerk. When police went to arrest him, they found Denise’s body in the advanced stage of decomposition in his apartment.

Investigators said she was dead for approximately a month and the fetus was not viable. Moore was charged with all 3 murders, but a judge found him incompetent to stand trial.

“I believe that when he got to a point where it was just too much to bear, he came over here to get caught,” said Middleton. “You think this was just his way of going out with a bang, and he didn’t know what to do with her body.”

Middleton said the last time she spoke to Denise, she was in New York trying to get away from Moore. According to court documents, Moore was already wanted for an aggravated assault charge on Denise from Norfolk, Virginia. Moore alleges the day Denise died, the two got into an argument.

Police said there was no missing person’s report filed, but Middleton said Denise was very loved by her family. Her mother died, so Middleton said Denise was daddy’s little girl, and he did look for her.

“I hope that judgement is passed down swiftly on Torrey Moore,” said Middleton. “He is not incompetent at all. I do not believe he is incompetent to stand trial because he was able to tell the cops what he did to her, and why. “

Police said no one reported a smell or heard the gunshots, but Denise’s family doesn’t believe that. Middleton said that when her family went to visit The Enclave, the apartment door where Denise’s body was found was completely open. The family claimed they tried to contact the property to have a vigil there but did not hear back.

The Middleton family now wants The Enclave apartments to be held accountable. DC News Now previously reported that The Enclave’s tenant portal where residents report issues was undergoing maintenance from the time Denise was likely killed to the time Moore was arrested.

“Them not having a way for people to report and them not following up on reports have just put us in a situation where we couldn’t even have a visual of her body,” said Middleton. “For our funeral, she had to be cremated, so that’s just robbing us of giving her a proper goodbye.”

This week a community meeting was held in White Oak in response to Denise’s murder. People who live here at The Enclave voiced their concerns about safety and living conditions. Councilmembers said The Enclave is riddled with violations and there will be an inspection next month.

Moore is scheduled to appear in court on January 25.