BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The front rows of a courtroom in Brunswick County were filled with Phillip Brock’s family and friends Thursday as he made his first court appearance in connection to the death of his wife, Judy Brown Brock.
Phillip Harry Brock, 71, was arrested and charged with first degree murder Wednesday evening after Judy’s body was found in a wooded area in Sampson County.
Phillip spoke few words during the court appearance, only responding “yes, sir” to a judge when asked if he understood things. He was the first person to report his wife missing early Friday morning.
According to Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery, the District Attorney’s Office said it believes Phillip requested a Silver Alert be issued Friday, March 15 in an effort to throw authorities off the track of his involvement with his wife’s death. The Silver Alert said Judy had last been seen on Greensboro Street in Holden Beach.
Silver Alerts are typically issued for missing people who are believed to be suffering from some form of cognitive impairment.
The District Attorney’s Office said it believes Phillip disabled the GPS in his phone the day Judy went missing and tried to unsuccessfully disable the GPS in his 2018 Ford F-150.
Authorities were able to track the GPS in his truck to find Judy's body in Sampson County.
Details surrounding Judy’s death are unclear and the investigation is ongoing. Holden Beach Police Captain Jeremy Dixon said the cause of death won’t be known until an autopsy is done.
District Attorney Jon David reacted to reports of Phillip claiming Judy had dementia when he reported his wife was missing.
“I believe that it is important to protect the reputation of the deceased,” David said Thursday night. “Any suggestion that her disappearance was the product of a cognitive impairment is utterly false. Judy Brock is a victim of murder.”
An unprecedented crime?
According to Dixon, this is the first murder in the town’s 50-year history.
Missing person signs for Judy were still up in Holden Beach Town Hall on Thursday, and Dixon said the incident has shocked and saddened the small beach town but residents relied on each other through the search.
“This has actually brought the community together I feel like," Dixon said. “We are a tight-knit community, and our full-time resident population is just over 500 people.
“We’re Mayberry," Dixon added, referring to the fictional North Carolina town depicted in The Andy Griffith Show. “Everyone still knows everyone’s name, so this has brought everyone together.”
People in town said Judy was well-known, and was involved in a number of clubs, including being the president of the Holden Beach General Federation of Women’s Club.
Gayle Todd was in the Holden Beach Beautification Club with Judy for more than a decade. Todd said she spoke to Phillip on the phone on Monday. Todd offered to bring food over to the family’s house.
She said Phillip said, “No,” and sounded upset.
“He was very distraught. He was crying. He’d make you cry, and I did," Todd said. “It was hard to get through the conversation, so after that, I was very adamant that he was not the one who did it, if anything happened to her.
“He’s a very good actor."
Todd said processing the news of Judy’s death is difficult but echoed Dixon’s sentiments that Holden Beach residents will lean on each other to persevere.
“We’re all in some type of shock," Todd said. “We’re trying to figure it out. Why did he do that to someone like her?
“We all are all tight. We thought we knew each other’s personalities and family lifestyles. I can’t judge people like I thought I could.”
Phillip is being held under no bond. His next court date is slated for April 2.