Woman found dead with her children in Carolina Forest was in custody battle, records show
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - An elementary school teacher who was found dead with her two children after a shooting in a Carolina Forest neighborhood was in the middle of a custody battle, according to public records.
The Horry County Police Department and Horry County Coroner’s Office said 42-year-old Laura Moberley, 11-year-old Eric Moberley and 8-year-old Emily Moberley were all found shot to death at a home on Centennial Circle on Wednesday. Officials believe the shooting itself happened hours before they were found.
Records from family court show a legal order of separation was filed by Laura Moberley’s husband, William, on June 13.
The latest filings were dated August 30, the same date on which a temporary hearing was scheduled. Records show Laura Moberley filed for financial declaration while an affidavit and report was also filed by a guardian ad litem assigned to the case.
According to the South Carolina Bar, a guardian ad litem “is a lawyer or non-lawyer appointed in court proceedings by the court to represent ‘the best interests’ of the child or children involved in that case.”
Records also show the presiding judge issued a temporary consent order on Tuesday, but the specifics of that order were not immediately available.
The day after the scheduled hearing, officers with the Horry County Police Department responded to the area at around 1:45 p.m. for a welfare check.
An incident report shows that officers tried to make contact with the people inside but there was no answer. Officers then forced entry at the front door and that’s when they “located the suspect and 2 victims inside the home unresponsive and not breathing,” according to the incident report.
The coroner’s office said all three people died of gunshot wounds.
“Our community is hurting today, and that is undeniable,” the Horry County Police Department said in a statement. “We ask that you be kind to one another - you may not know who has been impacted by this tragedy.”
Horry County Schools confirmed that Laura Moberley was a Reading Loss Interventionist at Carolina Forest Elementary School. She was hired by the district in 2018.
The school district added that Emily was a 3rd-grade student at Carolina Forest Elementary School and Eric was in 7th grade at Ten Oaks Middle School.
Horry County Schools released this statement on Thursday morning:
We are at a loss for words after learning of the tragic incident that affected an entire family with ties to Horry County Schools. We lift our strongest prayers for the Moberley family and for everyone who knew them. We encourage our community to keep our students and staff in their thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time.
Our district has a team of counselors made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this. Our counselors are available at the affected schools for any student or employee who may need or want assistance surrounding this tragedy.
The Horry County Police Department, Horry County Fire Rescue, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Child Fatality Unit and the Horry County Coroner’s Office are working together to continue the investigation into the shooting and also provide support to those in need.
The investigation is ongoing but HCPD does not believe there is any threat to the community.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help William Moberley, Laura’s husband and the father of Eric and Emily, pay for funeral expenses.
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