Yvonne McKoy’s daughter surprised her after church one Sunday in December with the news that she planned to marry. Then her daughter moved away, and she never saw her again.
On Thursday, police in Durham, N.C., explained why. Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 27, was found dead Wednesday, her remains wrapped in a plastic bag unearthed by a plumbing crew behind a house.
Durham police have charged seven people in the slaying of the District native. One of them, Pete Lucas Moses Jr., 27, was her fiance, Yvonne McKoy said. Authorities say he was the leader of a home-based religious sect called the Black Hebrews that operated out of a house in Durham.
Moses was also charged with murder in the death of a 5-year-old boy who lived in the house, police said.
Moses was charged Wednesday while in custody on separate charges, according to police. Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, was arrested Wednesday evening. The other five — Larhonda Renee Smith, 40; P. Leonard Moses, 21; Sheila Falisha Moses, 20; Sheilda Evelyn Harris, 56; and Vania Rae Sisk, 25 — turned themselves in later. All seven were being held without bond as of Thursday, according to a Durham police spokeswoman.
Members of McKoy’s family said Antoinetta and Moses met as students at Dunbar High School in Northwest Washington. Yvonne McKoy said Moses would often walk her daughter home from school, though the girl was not allowed to date at the time.
In early December, McKoy came home from church and was greeted by her daughter, who lived with her at the time. “She opened the door, and she literally jumped in my arms and gave me the biggest hug,” McKoy said. “She said, ‘Ma, I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you too, Baby.’”
Antoinetta McKoy said she was moving to North Carolina with Moses, her mother said. Moses was in the room, McKoy said, but he did not say much. McKoy said her daughter promised she would be back soon. She never returned.
In Durham, Antoinetta McKoy lived in the house with Moses and several women, according to police. Calls went unanswered, said her mother. Yvonne McKoy said she received text messages from her daughter’s phone saying she was busy working, that her truck broke down and that she would not be coming home soon.
McKoy began to worry. “She would always say ‘Ma.’ The text messages didn’t say ‘Ma,’” McKoy said. “And at the end, she would always say ‘I love you Ma.’”
McKoy did not hear from her daughter at Christmastime. She missed her older sister’s birthday, New Year’s and her mother’s birthday in January, family members said.
In February, Antoinetta McKoy got into a “heated argument” with Moses over a set of missing car keys, according to a search warrant filed in Colorado as part of an investigation into the group, some members of which had moved to Teller County, Colo.
Someone who lived with the Black Hebrews group told Durham police that McKoy ran out of the house and flagged down a passing vehicle but was taken back inside the house and beaten unconscious, according to the warrant. Moses instructed Vania Sisk to shoot her, the warrant says.
That month, McKoy’s family filed a missing persons report in the District.
Family remembers remembered McKoy as an aspiring writer who loved gospel music and poetry and attended church every Sunday. She had recently worked as a security guard in the District, family members said.
Her memorial service, at the Greater Pentecostal Church on Spring Road in Northwest Washington, is June 25, her birthday.