Chris Moyer’s story: Why he killed his wife and son

On the night of 17th June 2011, Christopher Moyer called 911 and calmly reported the murderers of his wife, Irina, and seven-year-old son, Dylan. When the dispatcher asked whether Christopher killed his family, Moyer replied, “Yes, I did.” Moyer also told the 911 operator that he was certain his wife and son were dead. 

Christopher ended the call by thanking the operator. Moyer’s calmness added to the bizarre nature of the interaction with the dispatcher – murderers are rarely that calm when reporting their crimes. In hindsight, Chris was that composed because he didn’t intend to live long after completing that call. 

Chris was supposed to drop his son off at his grandparents’ house that evening

Christopher Moyer grew up as a single child in the village of Neffs in the North Whitehall Township of Pennsylvania. Moyer played the trumpet in middle school before joining Parkland High School. After graduation, Moyer attended Kutztown University. 

Moyer’s father, Warren, said he’d spoken to Christopher earlier in the day, and he seemed in good spirits. “We spoke on Friday morning and he was in good spirits,” Warren told The Morning Call. Warren said that Chris had spoken of renewing a contract with a client. 

Warren said that during a subsequent call, Christopher said he didn’t want to talk anymore. Christopher was supposed to drop Dylan off at his maternal grandparent’s house on the evening of the 17th. 

Theresa Yanny, one of Dylan’s teachers, told the Bucks County Courier Times that she suspected Dylan spent a lot of time with his grandparents: Dylan’s artwork often revolved around impressions of him playing with his grandparents. 

It’s unclear when Chris resolved to kill his wife and child. Regardless, at some point on Friday night, Moyer struck his sleeping wife in the head with a baseball bat until she died. He then dragged her body into the bathroom and placed a towel over her face, authorities told the media. 

Christopher then walked down the hall to Dylan’s room and bludgeoned his son to death. He left the bloodied baseball bat close to his son’s body. As there were no signs of a struggle, police assumed that Irina and Dylan were asleep when the attacks started. 

Dylan left a note on the front door containing a list of family members’ names and phone numbers for authorities to call. Minutes after the 911 call, the police rushed to the Warrington home and surrounded the house. Unaware that Christopher wasn’t home, they tried to contact anyone inside. 

Eventually, they breached the residence and discovered the bodies. Irina’s parents had driven to the home after failing to reach the Moyers. They, Irina’s brother and her sister-in-law, learned about the deaths at the scene. 

Authorities found Christopher’s body on train tracks moments after SEPTA reported that one of their trains had hit somebody. Perhaps knowing the train’s schedule, he’d laid his head on the rails and awaited death. 

There had been no signs of domestic trouble, and Chris seemed to love Dylan

The Bucks County Coroner’s Office concluded that Irina and Dylan died due to blunt-force trauma to the head. County Coroner Walter Hoffman told the Bucks County Courier Times that the office declared Chris’ death a suicide resulting from multiple body traumas. In a few hours, what appeared to be a loving family was gone. 

Chris and Irina Elizabeth Geller, a Ukraine native, married in 2002. They were among the first to move into the Redstone Drive neighborhood a year later. Neighbors told the Courier Times that the Moyers were a private family that rarely participated in community activities. 

One neighbor described Chris as standoffish and curt; another called him ‘quirky’. “I think he [Christopher] was controlling,” said Rose Radziul, a neighbor. “But I didn’t think it would ever come to this.”

Neighbors never saw or heard the couple fighting or arguing; records showed no criminal charges involving the Moyers and no reported instances of domestic violence. Chris and Irina were computer experts who worked from home and seemed to make a decent living from their occupations. 

Furthermore, Chris and Irina loved their son. Neighbors saw Chris holding Dylan’s son on the street as the toddler learned to walk. “I just cannot fathom it. He just loved that little boy,” another neighbor told the Courier Times. Lynda Costello told the outlet that Chris and Irina were very involved in their child’s education:

“They always asked a lot of good questions. [The father] seemed so grounded. They were parents who wanted their son to be successful in school. You could tell they read at home.”

Costello described Dylan as a child with above-average intelligence, saying he had an ‘adult-like’ vocabulary. “He would ask me a question and it would take me off-guard because he used words that were higher than a kindergarten level,” Costello said. “And he always wanted to know more.”

Lynda said Dylan loved nonfiction literature and took advantage of any opportunity to read. Costello added that his voice carried a hint of Irina’s Slavic intonation, and he mimicked his mother’s expressions. Lynda concluded:

“When you finished helping him — I’ll never forget how he’d look up at you with those eyes. He would always say, ‘Thank you,’ and smile that beautiful smile. He had such a beautiful smile.”

Experts opined that Chris murdered his family because he thought they were better off dead

It was difficult for investigators to figure out a motive for the tragic double murder-suicide. The eventual consensus was that financial problems motivated Chris to murder his family. 

In 2006, the couple had avoided foreclosure and paid off a federal lien. Records showed the state had filed a $2,228 commonwealth lien on the family’s home. Authorities said they found $1,300 in Chris’ pockets and stated he’d sent messages to family members apologizing for killing himself. 

Dr. Rocio Nell told the Courier Times that parents who kill their children are often influenced by drug use or fueled by crippling despair. Nell added that suicidal people who kill loved ones do so because they believe their loved ones are better off dead. 

In Chris’ case, he probably believed that Dylan would suffer without a parent, so killing him was an act of mercy. Tony Salvatore, chair of Montgomery County’s Suicide Prevention Team, agreed, saying:

“In the mind of that father, when some people, particularly men, get suicidal and decide the world would be better off without them, they believe those close to them would be better off not to be there too.”

Salvatore said that Chris was calm during the call because he’d decided to live no longer. “Sometimes people are robotic,” Salvatore stated. “They’ve checked out and there’s nothing else to be concerned about, they have no more anxiety about their decision.”

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