AKRON, Ohio — On the morning of January 31, Heidi Moon, a 43-year-old mother from Akron, met with David Oliver, the president and chief of a private investigation firm.
According to Oliver, Moon thought her ex-boyfriend, Nick Mima, 39, had placed some type of tracking device in her car.
She had stayed at a Kent hotel on January 30 and Moon told the private eye that Mima had texted her, indicating he knew where she was and provided the address of her location in Portage County.
Oliver and his partner conducted a sweep of Moon's car and located an Apple AirTag tracker in the back pocket of the front passenger seat.
"I had every reason to believe that [Mima] had placed it there," Oliver said. "He had contacted her with the location of the hotel she was at the night before and that's highly unusual."
Oliver suggested Moon go to the police to report a possible case of stalking, but if she didn't feel comfortable, Oliver said he would talk to officers on her behalf. Moon didn't want law enforcement to get involved.
"Her primary concern was she needed a couple of hours to think because her response, to me, was, if you go interview him or the police go interview him, it's going to set him off," Oliver told News 5.
About four hours later, Moon was shot to death by Mima outside of her home on Edwin Avenue in Akron. Mima then turned the gun on himself and died in a hospital the next day.
Moon's sister, Teresa Gajkowski, is devastated and decided to share the story of her family's heartbreaking loss hoping to prevent another family from facing her pain.
Gajkowski said her sister was a fierce protector, generous and beautiful. She was the mother of an adult son.
"I wanted this story told because it opened my eyes. If my sister, who was the strongest person that I knew— if this could happen to her— it could happen to anybody that you think is strong," Gajkowksi said.
Gajkowksi said Moon broke up with Mima last November, but he remained in her life. In fact, he continued to stay at Moon's home off and on during the following months.
According to Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller, the department does not have any domestic-related police reports between Moon and Mima.
Mima's family declined to comment to News 5 for this story.
While Moon's family said they don't believe Mima was physically abusive to Moon until that tragic day, Gajkowski and Moon's close friend, Dave Lansky, believe she was subjected to emotional abuse.
"He was using anything and everything to keep her in his grasps," Gajkowski said.
Lansky said Moon made several attempts to get Mima out of her life, but he kept returning.
"She told him to leave. He would come back. He would threaten suicide. She'd let him come back. He would leave. He would go stay at a storage unit somewhere and then he'd come back," Lansky said.
Lansky said Moon had expressed concerns to him that Mima might hurt her or her friends.
Lanksy showed News 5 text messages sent to him by Moon on January 28, three days before the murder-suicide.
In one text, Moon indicated Mima told her, "You're lucky I don't put a bullet in your b**** a**."
After Lansky asked Moon what she was going to do, she responded, "Now he said he is gonna go to [a friend of Moon's] and put a bullet in her head and he has four addresses for you, since I don't care about him he will kill my friends and I can live with that the rest of my life."
Lansky also told Moon to get the police involved, but she declined.
"We tried everything with her, but as you can hear, Heidi wouldn't back down," Lansky said.
After the meeting with Oliver, Moon decided she wanted to go back to her home to let her dogs out.
Lansky said Moon messaged Mima and didn't think he was at the Edwin Avenue residence. Still, Lansky and another friend, named Mack, didn't want her to go alone. Mack drove her to the neighborhood and Lansky drove there separately.
According to Lansky, Moon went into the house and then came out with Mima following behind.
Lansky said Moon crouched down behind Mack's car in an attempt to hide. Lansky got out of his truck and started screaming.
"I was yelling because hopefully he would turn around and give her two seconds to turn around and look who's yelling," Lansky said. "He didn't even look at me."
Lanksy said Mima fired one shot and missed. He heard Moon yell, "Oh my God!" Moments later, a second shot was fired, striking Moon.
"And that's where Heidi fell," Lansky said.
Mima then turned the gun on himself.
Lansky got out of his vehicle and performed CPR on Moon. She died later that day at an Akron hospital.
Oliver was crushed when he learned about the murder-suicide the next day. He replayed the conversation he had with Moon in his mind wondering if he could have done anything differently, but felt he had to abide by Moon's wishes.
"I've seen a lot of death in my life and this one is particularly troublesome," Oliver said. "In her mind, I believe that she had dealt with this before and she thought that she was going to push through it and keep everyone safe, including us."
Lindsay Reese, director of services for the Battered Women's Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties, said it appears Moon was going through a cycle of emotional abuse.
She stressed the shelter has a 24/7 hotline (330-374-1111) for survivors who can remain anonymous but still receive critical help. Reese said family members and co-workers can also utilize the number.
"We're going to validate everything that you're saying to us as the victim that we believe you," Reese said. "We will help you with safety planning if you're not ready to leave the relationship. But a lot of times, we do hear the exact same stories that Heidi was saying. There were threats to the family. There are threats to her. There's threats to pets."
Gajkowski, Lansky and Oliver are planning to join forces to create the Heidi Moon Foundation, a non-profit aimed at providing resources to people in troubling relationships.
Gajkowkski said it's hard to put into words the anguish she continues to feel over the loss of her sister, but feels if the foundation can help save one life, it will be worth it.
"There's resources. Don't end up like my sister, murdered in her own driveway," she said. "We were supposed to have grandkids together. We had so much more to do and I was robbed."
Help is available for those in a domestic violence situation. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233. You can also text START to 88788. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network has a directory of local support groups around the state.