MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Nearly a week after officers found a pregnant woman killed inside and apartment in White Oak, investigators released her name.
The Montgomery County Department of Police said officers found the body of Denise Middleton, 26, inside the home at 11235 Oak Leaf Dr. while they were carrying out a search warrant for another murder.
Torrey Damien Moore was accused of shooting and killing Ayalew Wondimu, 61, at the Dash In Convenience Store, located in the 11100 block of New Hampshire Ave. on Dec. 8. Wondimu was an employee of the store.
The apartment on Oak Leaf Drive was where Moore lived.
Detectives said they believe Moore killed Middleton sometime in October. They found her body, which was in an advanced stage of decomposition, in the bedroom of the apartment. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) determined that Middleton was about 38 weeks pregnant at the time of her death with a boy, who would have lived if Middleton delivered prior to her death. An autopsy also showed that Middleton had been shot a number of times.
According to a National Institutes of Health study “in 2020, the risk of homicide was 35% higher for pregnant or postpartum women, compared to women of reproductive age who were not pregnant or postpartum.” The study also shows homicide rates were highest among adolescents and Black women, with most incidents involving firearms.
“Homicide of a pregnant woman is not typically a first- and only-time domestic violence incident,” said Jennifer Pollitt Hill, Executive Director of Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. “It’s probably a culmination of years of abuse.”
While State’s Attorney John McCarthy said he doesn’t know what Moore’s motive was, he’s well aware of the trend of homicides among pregnant women.
“Many of you probably remember the Laura Wallen case that we had years ago here that was this wonderful young woman who was the teacher of the year in Howard County, who was killed by a young man named Tyler Tessier because he found that she was pregnant with her child,” McCarthy said.
Moore faces charges of First-degree Murder for Middleton, First-degree Murder for the Death of a Viable Fetus, and a Crime of Violence Against a Pregnant Person.
As of Thursday, he was being held without bond for the murder of Wondimu.
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