A small suburb in North Carolina was devastated this week when a disturbed teen was arrested for calmly beheading his mother. Pilot, North Carolina is a small mountain community, located about 190 miles east of Charlotte. Oliver Mauricio Funes-Machada was an 18 year old illegal immigrant from Honduras. He lived there with his parents and three younger siblings. He attended tenth grade at Rolesville High School.
On Monday he was at home with his mother and two siblings, aged 4 and 2. After an unspecified confrontation with his mother, 35-year old Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machada, he grabbed a large butcher knife, stabbed her 8 times, then decapitated her. He then left the knife in her mouth, the Charlotte Observer reported.
He called 911 around 12:47 and dispatchers said he stayed on the line the entire time. When police arrived on the scene he was holding the bloody knife in one hand and the severed head in the other. He was arrested without incident. Officers had to go to a neighboring county to get a search warrant, which delayed the investigation until about 4:30. But when they got inside they found the rest of the headless body.
“It was a gruesome scene,” Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead told the Raleigh News and Observer. “There were so many wounds.”
They finally removed the body around 8:30 and cleaned out the scene by 10 p.m.
“It’s a terrible situation for the family, a terrible situation for the neighborhood and this county. I’m just glad things worked out the way they did and no one else was hurt in taking the suspect into custody,” Winstead said.
A neighbor, Eddie Garner, said that when the woman’s husband arrived home that evening, his sobs could be heard throughout the street.
“I don’t know what they told him,” Garner said. “I mean, we just heard him crying and you could hear him all over the place. I mean he definitely never expected something like this to happen.”
Another neighbor, Leona Smith, told WRAL TV, “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. To see the two younger children sitting in the ditch crying, it was heartbreaking.”
“Complete and utter shock,” Ryan Reader, a neighbor said. “Pilot, Zebulon this whole area is a quiet area and I didn’t know what to expect when I got home and saw police cars and everything around.”
District Attorney Mike Waters said that there were obviously some mental issues to consider and prosecutors will work to ascertain that.
“This is something that’s going to take weeks and months for us to get some answers as to why this happened,” he said.
Deputies found medication for psychosis and schizophrenia in the house, the labeling for the teen. In his police statement Funes-Machada said he committed the murder, “Because I felt like it.”
Funes-Machada is currently being held in the Franklin County Detention Center, charged with first-degree murder. Waters said he will be transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh, “because it’s more appropriate for any special needs he may have.”
He is scheduled to appear in court on March 14. However Immigrations and Customs Enforcements have also put out a detainer for him as well.
“ICE is focused on identifying, arresting and removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws,” an ICE spokesperson commented.
He is currently being held without bond, but if he bonds, ICE is waiting for him.
Bryan Cox, a regional ICE spokesman, told the Charlotte Observer,“Given the charge, the detainer would also apply at whatever point if/when he gets out of prison down the road. So either avenue. But the detainer does not preclude any criminal prosecution.”
The neighbors said that even the deputies were in shock. The first deputy was described as having a look of “terror,” on his face.
“He just looked like he was just blown away. I mean, he was just in terror. He was just so upset,” neighbor Randy Mullins told NBC News. “I can’t imagine how anyone could do that to anybody, much less your own mother.”
Mullins also said that while the investigation went on, Funes-Machado was sitting there in handcuffs, “like he didn’t have a care in the world.”
The Franklin Sheriff’s office said they will be bringing in therapists to help the officers on the site to cope with the scene. The two other children in the home were unharmed, an additional child, a 14 year-old son, was in school at the time.
“I think everybody needs to pray for the family,” Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Terry Wright said. “It’s tough for the family, it’s tough for the neighborhood and it’s tough for the community. This is stuff you don’t see in this county and this state every day and it’s going to be a long road for the family to deal with this horrific situation.”