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SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Two women made their first court appearance Monday morning in the murder of one of their mothers.

Nancy Lynne Mercer was found shot to death in her own home in Spotsylvania County on May 18. Alaina Mercer, the victim's daughter, and Alaina's wife, Christina Brown, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

When Nancy didn't show up for work at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, her coworkers knew something was wrong.

"Having been a long time nurse up in D.C., she was known for being punctual, when she went to work," says Captain Jeff Pearce with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Department.

"On the day of the murder she was due to be in work at 7:00p.m. to work the 7-to-7 shift, and when she didn't show up and her coworkers weren't able to contact her, they contacted the sheriff's office. Our deputies went out to conduct a welfare check, when they arrived they discovered the crime scene."

Nearly two weeks later, investigators say they've made two arrests, Alaina Mercer and her wife, Christina Brown.

"You say that nothing will surprise you, but that is fairly unique," says Captain Pearce. "This case, they went to her home and it appears at least from evidence that the killing was conspiratory in nature."

Although deputies won't say a specific motive, Nancy's neighbor says his first thought, was her daughter, Alaina. "On Monday she was supposed to be in court, to get full custody of the kid, her daughter's kid," says James Middlebrook, a neighbor. "She was supposed to get full custody that day."

Captain Pearce confirms Nancy Mercer was supposed to be in court with her daughter, Alaina, the day after she was killed. Deputies won't say what for, just that it was a domestic issue.

Nancy's family released a statement saying: "Our mother was a beautiful and loving woman whose life was tragically ended, the way her life ended was a stark contrast to the work and the way she lived."

"They've had to deal with the loss of their mother as well as knowing that one of their own family members is the suspect," says Captain Pearce.

Both women are being held without bond.

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