Local News

Breakup ends in deaths of Chapel Hill firefighter, ex-girlfriend, young girl

Posted February 23, 2021 8:42 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2021 6:44 p.m. EST

— A soured relationship between a Chapel Hill firefighter and a woman he used to date has ended in three deaths.

Raleigh police responded to a home in the 8000 block of Marsh Hollow Drive, off Forestville Road, at about noon Tuesday and found 48-year-old Larry Donnell "Donnie" Morrisey dead.

Investigators haven't released a cause of death, but evidence in the home prompted them to ask Wendell police to check a home in the 400 block of North Cypress Street in Wendell.

There, police found 48-year-old Beronica Brooks and a 9-year-old girl dead.

Raleigh police said Brooks was the suspect in Morrisey's death. A 2010 Toyota 4Runner that police said was stolen from Morrisey at the time of his death was found outside Brooks' home.

Morrisey had broken up with Brooks, but she wouldn't leave him alone, according to his older sister, Chanell Morrisey. Brooks, a nurse who owned a home health care company, would repeatedly call and text him and sometimes followed him so they would show up at the same location, Chanell Morrisey said.

"We tried to tell him then, 'You need to probably get a restraining order on her, you know, because we don't know what can happen. You don't know what she's capable of doing,'" she said Wednesday. "Next thing we know, this is what happened."

Chanell Morrisey, who lives in Fayetteville, said the family hadn't heard from her brother since the weekend, noting he didn't respond to calls or texts and didn't answer the door when their aunt and uncle stopped by his house.

The family also checked with the Chapel Hill Fire Department, where Donnie Morrisey had worked since 2006, and found that he hadn't checked in for several days.

"I'm starting to freak out," she said. "I'm like, 'OK, something's not right.' This is not like my brother not to call or respond to any of our text messages."

The aunt and uncle went by the house again Tuesday and called 911 after no one answered the door, prompting authorities to break in, where they found Donnie Morrisey dead.

"I can't wrap my fingers, my head, around it. I just don't understand why someone would want to take my brother's life," Chanell Morrisey said. "He was a very loving person, a caring person [who] would do what he could to help anybody out."

Donnie Morrisey was a fire inspector in Chapel Hill.

“Our main priority right now is to support Donnie’s family and our fire department family,” Fire Chief Vencelin Harris said in a statement. “We are heartbroken over the loss of our brother."

Retired Fire Chief Dan Jones tweeted about Morrissey's death, saying he was a valued member of the fire department.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.

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