GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – An 80-year-old Gaston County woman is dead, and police have arrested her 88-year-old roommate for her murder.
Charles Edwin Venn is charged with first degree murder for shooting Vivian Schronce to death. He is in the Gaston County Jail with no bond.
The two lived in a mobile home at the back of the Pine Grove trailer park just outside Gastonia.
Schronce’s daughter, Leanne Catoe, stood outside the gate in front of her mother’s home Sunday and nervously twisted the necklace around her neck – the one she gave Schronce for Mother’s Day last year.
She recounted how she had just seen her mother at church.
“I sat in church this morning beside her and I had this weird feeling,” said Catoe, “and I moved everything and scooted close to her, and she smiled at me.”
She described how she had just given her mother a haircut Saturday, and was proud to make her look “so pretty.”
As the two left church, they exchanged “I love you’s” and Catoe said she would come over in a little while for some pot pie. But as she made her way home, she saw an ambulance race past and had a terrible feeling.
She went straight to her mother’s home, and found medics doing CPR.
“All I could say is ‘God no, God no’...” Catoe’s voice trailed off.
Gaston County police said they were called to Schronce’s home for a call about a cardiac arrest. When they got there, they found Schronce with a gunshot wound in her chest.
Catoe said her mother had lived in the home with Venn for five or six years, and cared for him during that time. She wouldn’t speculate about what led to the shooting.
“That makes no sense,” she added. “Why would anybody shoot a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a woman who's never hurt anybody?”
Catoe recounted how her mother “cared for everybody.” A former nurse, Schronce had cared for Catoe’s husband as he battled cancer. Then she cared for Catoe as she dealt with her grief after his death two years ago.
She said she’s not ready to say good-bye.
“She was my rock,” she said tearfully. “She's all I had. I'm not ready to be the matriarch of the family -- that's her job.”