In a scene one law enforcement officer referred to as “gruesome,” an eastern North Carolina teenager was found Monday holding his mother’s severed head in one hand and a large butcher knife in the other.
It happened 190 miles east of Charlotte in the small Pilot community of Franklin County. The closest town is Zebulon, an eastern Wake County town of 4,400 people.
The suspected killer, 18-year-old Oliver Mauricio Funes Machada, is now in jail, charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his 35-year-old mother, Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machada. The suspect was originally identified with his last name spelled Funez.
"When they arrived, he was with the decapitation in his hand and it was a gruesome scene," said Sheriff Kent Winstead told TV station WRAL.
Coverage of the story has gone international, with such spectacular headlines as “Teen arrested after greeting police with butcher's knife and mother's severed head.” The Sun in the United Kingdom referred to the event as a “Beheading Horror” and claimed Machada “decapitated his own mum in front of her kids then confronted cops carrying her head.”
Deputies say they came to the home after receiving a 911 made by Oliver Machada on Monday. “He stayed on 911 until the deputy arrived, talking the whole time,” Winstead told the Raleigh News & Observer.
Media reports say the first deputy on the scene saw the teen walking out of the house, holding the head in one hand and what appeared to be a butcher knife in the other. When Machada saw officers, he reportedly placed the head on the ground and was arrested.
"It was a gruesome scene...I can't tell you how many wounds,” Winstead told WRAL.
Law enforcement officials have said the incident took place around 12:47 p.m. at a home on Morgan Drive.
Media reports say two young girls, about ages 2 or 3, were at home when the attack happened but were unharmed. Another sibling was at school at the time, officials have said. Oliver Machada is reportedly the oldest child in the family, and had finished the 10th grade at Rolesville High School.
One neighbor, Randy Mullins, told WRAL he drove by the scene and saw a look of “terror” on the face of one of the deputies at the scene.
Neighbor Eddie Garner, who lives a few doors down, told TV station WTVD that neighbors could hear Machada’s husband reacting to the scene when he came home just before 5 p.m.
"I don't know what they (deputies) told him," Garner told WTVD said. "I mean, we just heard him crying and you could hear him all over the place."
Oliver Machada is in the Franklin County Detention Center with no bond, according to the department’s Facebook page.
Authorities say all three remaining children are with their father.
Officials say a motive remains unclear.