SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Brooke Navoy was a vibrant 39-year-old who loved her quiet neighborhood in Surfside Beach. She was months away from marrying her fiancé, Mike King, when he found her dead from a gunshot wound in their apartment.
"I was probably screaming," Kings remembers about that morning on April 16, 2013. "I was devastated. I was like ‘get me help here now!'"
So far, nothing paints a clear picture of exactly what happened to Brooke, and whether or not someone is responsible for her death. King can't think of anyone who would want to hurt Brooke. She was a mother, new grandmother, and someone who spent her time giving back to the community.
"If you needed something, she'd give you the shirt off her back," King says about her.
He says he left their apartment on 15th Avenue South for his overnight shift between 9:30 and 10 p.m. the night before Brooke died. She called him on his way to work to say goodnight.
"I said ‘ok, house is locked. I'll see ya in the morning. Love you,'" King recalls. It was a typical conversation between the two. "At least I got [those] two words out of my mouth."
King was first on the scene when he arrived home from work around 7:15 a.m. He noticed their sliding glass door was open, but didn't think anything of it until he found Brooke unresponsive on the floor near their bedroom. He thought she had been sleep walking again, until he noticed blood underneath her body.
"I did not see a gun. Did not see a bullet wound," King remembers. "But I wasn't worried about that. I was worried about getting her better."
Lt. Kenneth Hofmann with Surfside Beach Police was the original lead detective on the case. He says Brooke died sometime between midnight and sunrise on April 16, 2013. He doesn't believe she suffered very long.
"I think that there was probably a very short period of time between the shot and the time of death," Lt. Hofmann says. "I don't know that I can say it was immediate, but I think it was very brief."
First responders secured the area around the apartment, and that's when King saw police bring Brooke's daughter out of the home. He was surprised she was in the apartment.
"I thought the child was gone to school," King says. "She had been in the room. I guess her mom didn't wake her, she didn't get up."
The 14 year old told police she went to bed around 9 p.m. the night before, right about the time King left for work. Police found her the next morning in a bedroom when they were trying to secure the scene.
In an interview with WMBF News Anchor Paula Caruso, King explains what he remembers about that morning.
Paula Caruso: "Did she hear anything amiss?"
Mike King: "As far as I know, no. She did not. She was asleep. Some kids sleep soundly. I don't know."
Paula Caruso: "What was her state like, when police brought her out of the home in the morning?"
Mike King: "I'd say shock. I was shocked. I can't tell you her reaction because I was shocked. No two people are probably [going to] react the same way, you know. [The] kid lost her momma."
Police say Brooke was shot in the upper torso, and even though the coroner's report determined her death a homicide, investigators still aren't ready to make that conclusion.
"There [are] just so many possibilities in this particular situation," Lt. Hofmann says. "Whether it was a criminal act or accidental, or whether it was self-inflicted, we just want to know so we can give that closure to the family."
King says Brooke's family only believes one thing: the coroner's report. They believe that she was murdered.
"I don't know what went wrong, but something definitely went wrong in that house that night," King says. "I have no doubt she did not do this to herself, or did she accidentally misfire one. I don't think it would happen. It just [doesn't] add up."
King also doesn't think this was a botched robbery attempt. Even though he found their sliding glass door open, nothing was missing from the home or even out of place. Police agree.
"That's not a particular direction that we're driving in - for the burglary, robbery, and armed robbery direction, so there's no reason to believe that was the case," Lt. Hofmann says.
Lt. Hofmann says the case still has a lot of momentum. Police recently interviewed new people and re-interviewed others. In the last few months, they requested new search warrants. He says they're also waiting on results of evidence submitted to two different labs.
As the investigators continue to sift through evidence and interviews, Brooke's friends and family refuse to give up hope that someone will pay for taking her life. A group of them gathered recently in Murrells Inlet to mark one year since her death.
"Nobody's come forward, and that's what we're looking for. Somebody to come forward with something," King says. "Keep it going. Put it on the right track and get justice."
Lt. Hofmann says someone in the community could be holding a vital piece of information that could move this case forward quickly. They're looking for anyone who may have seen or heard something out of the ordinary in the area of 15th Avenue South between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. on April 16, 2013. He says what may seem insignificant could be the lead needed to solve the case. You can contact Surfside Beach Police by calling (843) 913-6368.
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