An 18-year-old man decapitated his mother and then walked out the front door of her house holding her head in his hand while wielding a knife in the other, authorities said.
The scene unfolded Monday afternoon in a normally quiet neighborhood of one-story homes about 30 miles east of Raleigh in the Unites States.
Neighbor Randy Mullins was leaving his house minutes after the first deputy arrived, and he said he saw the woman’s head lying in the front yard about five feet in front of the porch. The deputy appeared to have just handcuffed the suspect .
“I couldn’t believe it. Things like that don’t happen,” said the 59-year-old Mullins, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. “You can’t believe somebody would do that. You hear about that, but it never happens across the street from you.”
Oliver Funes Machada was charged with first-degree murder Monday after he called 911 to say he had killed his mother, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
His public defender, Louisburg attorney C. Boyd Sturges III, said in a phone interview that he spoke with Funes-Machada for an hour in the Franklin County jail.
“It does appear there’s some substantial mental health issues involved in this case,” Sturges said. “I’m not a doctor, so I can’t really elaborate. He’s a pretty profoundly disturbed young man.”
Two young girls in the home were not hurt. A fourth child was in school when the attack occurred.
Deputies were searching the home hours after the body was discovered.
Neighbor Leona Smith told WRAL-TV she was still trying to come to grips with such a horrible crime happening so close by.
“It’s very hurtful to know something like this can happen in your own neighborhood with such a quiet family with the standard white picket fence, trampoline, playground in the back,” she said. “To see the two younger children sitting in the ditch crying, it was heartbreaking.”
Mullins, the other neighbor, said the family had moved to the neighborhood sometime around June. He didn’t know them well, but he and his mother said they seemed friendly.
“If they were outside, they always waved at you,” said Clearsy Mullins.
“He was sitting there like he didn’t have a care in the world,” Mullins said of Funes-Machada. “He didn’t appear to be upset; he didn’t appear to be crying.”