Laray Moore’s family are fighting to be solved for his 2006 murder in Norwalk, Connecticut

On the evening of June 29, 2006, Laray “Mookie” Moore and a friend were relaxing and listening to music when he received a call from his wife Natacha about their 15-month-old son Laray Jr., his mother Yvonne recalled.

“His wife told him to pick up the baby that was with his aunt,” Yvonne said in a phone interview. “He was always there for his children”

Nearly two years after his release from a 15-month sentence on drug charges, Laray’s life is moving in a positive direction, Yvonne and other relatives told The Daily Beast. In 2005, Laray and Natacha married. That same year she gave birth to Junior. Around the same time, he rekindled his bond with his then 14-year-old daughter, Breyona Sampson, from a previous relationship.

When not working his laborer job at a paint store, Laray spent his free time taking Breyona, his nephew, and their friends on frequent trips to an amusement park, teaching them to drive, and getting them to watch Christian sermons on YouTube. The eldest of three brothers, Laray also supported his middle brother, professional boxer Shakha Moore, by being one of his cornermen.

“He took care of everyone,” said Yvonne. “He had an ear and a shoulder for anyone who wanted to talk or cry. He loved his family to death.”

Laray Moore and his mother Yvonne Moore on his wedding day.

Courtesy of the Moore family

Just after 11 p.m., minutes after his aunt strapped Junior into a baby carrier in the back seat of Laray’s four-door sedan, a man in a dark hoodie and armed with a pistol approached the 33-year-old father, who was sitting in the driver’s seat said Laray’s relatives. Your account has been verified by Norwalk Police Det. Daniel Serio, who said the suspect shot Laray three times in the torso.

“Norwalk Police have received numerous 911 calls,” Serio said in an email to The Daily Beast. “When the patrol responded to the scene, Laray Moore did not respond.”

An ambulance transported Moore to Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, where he was pronounced dead, Serio said.

More than 16 years later, Moore’s murder is one of more than two dozen unsolved homicides in Norwalk. Even with a $50,000 reward, no witnesses have come forward with detailed information about the shooter, Serio said. Moore’s death has torn his family apart and created tensions for more than a decade between his widow Natacha and his blood relatives, who believe she is not telling everything she knows about the incident.

Natacha, who has given numerous press statements and interviews since Laray’s death, initially agreed to speak with The Daily Beast but did not respond to further phone and text messages after cutting short an interview scheduled for July 28.

In a 2019 TV interview, Natacha said yes when asked if she had a really good idea who shot her late husband. Just last month, in another television interview, Natacha claimed that witnesses were too scared to talk to homicide detectives. “I need to know why,” she told News 12 Connecticut. “I hope that person knows this: ‘Never get comfortable.’ Because one day there will be a knock at that door. I can promise you that.”

Norwalk Homicide investigators have ruled out Laray’s widow as a suspect. “Natacha Moore was interrogated multiple times by different detectives,” Det. Serio said. “At this point, she is not a person of interest.”

In a phone interview, Breyona, Laray’s now 30-year-old daughter, told The Daily Beast that she believes her father was framed. “As I got older, I did my own research,” Breyona said. “I’ve had people come to me who have suggested that someone close to my father did it.”

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Laray Moore and his daughter Breyona Sampson aged 15.

Courtesy of the Moore family

Yvonne said her daughter-in-law was acting strangely the night Laray was killed. At that time the couple lived with her. Natacha was at her home when she found out about the shooting from another relative, Yvonne said. She found it odd that Natacha hadn’t told her.

“If something happened to my son, how can you not tell me?” said Yvonne. “I got dressed and went outside to get in the car with my then-boyfriend. Natacha just stood there. We enter. I cry and cry and nothing is said.”

The next day, while discussing who wanted to kill Laray, Natacha told her to find out who the last person he spoke to was and “maybe that’s the answer,” Yvonne said. “My son was on my T-Mobile family plan,” she said. “When I looked at the call logs, she was the last to speak to him.”

Natacha also had Laray cremated without consulting her and other family members, Yvonne claimed. Laray’s wife moved out about two months after the funeral service, one of only two times she’s seen Natacha cry over the death of her son, Yvonne said.

“This is 16 years later and she’s never spoken to me about how I’m doing or how she’s feeling,” Yvonne said. “I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand it.”

Breyona and her cousin Shakha Moore Jr. said Natacha intentionally distanced herself from Laray’s family and kept most of his belongings and photos. “The only things my dad got to keep were my uncle’s mink coats,” Shakha Jr. said. “My uncle had bags full of clothes and sneakers. None of us noticed anything about it. No pictures either.”

And since he was cremated, the family can’t even visit a gravesite to deal with the grief, Shakha Jr. said, “I only have memories and his teachings on how to do the right thing.”

The 28-year-old nephew recalls his uncle taking him, Breyona and their friends on road trips to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. “I think my uncle is the reason I’m not afraid to ride roller coasters,” said Shakha Jr. “We did that a lot. We don’t do that anymore and I think his absence is the main reason.”

After Laray died, the Moore family drifted apart, Shakha Jr. said. “I don’t want to think that’s why we don’t get together as much as we used to,” he said. “But it’s a delicate situation. It’s been more than a decade and we still don’t know why it happened. And we’re not sure we’ll ever find out.”

When she was about 22, Breyona said she confronted Natacha and was told by her father’s widow that “a friend of my father’s” was responsible.

Cold case detectives have theorized that Laray was killed in retaliation for the murder of 33-year-old Fulton Raines, who was shot dead outside an Elks Lodge in Norwalk about two weeks before Laray. “This is just a theory and has never been confirmed,” Serio said. “I do not feel comfortable discussing the connection between these two murders as it could affect the investigation.”

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Fulton Reyes was killed just weeks before Laray Moore.

Norwalk Police

That’s despite Norwalk Police issuing a statement in 2017 that said: “Moore’s murder is believed to be in retaliation for the murder of Fulton Raines, which occurred on June 11, 2006 at 1:50am took place at the William Moore Lodge.”

Laray’s mother, Yvonne, dismissed the Raines theory. “The night Fulton was murdered, my son was in his car outside the club when it happened,” she said. “When he got home he told me that he saw the boy being shot and started praying for him. The police even came by and spoke to him. Laray had nothing to do with this incident.”

Since his death, Breyona said she has tried to avoid talking about her father because it causes her great grief. Remembering Laray and the positive influence he had on her, Breyona burst into tears.

“He took me to church and had me watch sermons on the computer for two hours before I could go outside and play,” Breyona said. “He also let me read the newspaper so I was up to date on current events.”

Like her cousin Shahka Jr., she has fond memories of going to Six Flags and Laray letting her drive his Acura Legend under his careful supervision. “We would ride anything in the park,” Breyona said. “He started teaching me to drive before he went to prison. He would put me on his lap so I could steer. And when I was big enough to pedal, he let me ride. He was an all-around great dad.”

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