NC teen accused of beheading his mother is in country illegally and wanted by ICE

Officials escort a family member from the scene of the homicide at Funes-Machado home.
Officials escort a family member from the scene of the homicide at Funes-Machado home.

A North Carolina teen who made international headlines Monday for allegedly beheading his mother with a knife is in the country illegally and is now wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for ICE in the southern region, said the agency has filed a detainer for 18-year-old Oliver Funes-Machado, who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly cutting off the head of his mother, Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machado. The suspect was originally identified by local authorities with the last name spelled Funez.

An ICE detainer means Funes-Machado would enter ICE custody if he bonds out of local criminal custody in the murder case. The Associated Press was reporting late Tuesday that Funes-Machado was transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh under a safekeeping order.

“Given the charge,” Cox said, “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.”

Funes-Machado is originally from Honduras, ICE officials said.

The killing of Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machado happened about noon Monday, 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.

Coverage of the shocking murder in a rural community has gone international, with such 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 Funes-Machado “decapitated his own mum in front of her kids then confronted cops carrying her head.”

Deputies say they came to the family’s home after receiving a 911 call made by Oliver Funes-Machado on Monday.

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 Funes-Machado saw officers, he reportedly placed the head on the ground and was arrested, officials have said.

“It was a gruesome scene. … I can’t tell you how many wounds,” Sheriff Kent Winstead told Raleigh TV station WRAL.

Two young girls, about ages 2 or 3, were at home when the attack happened but were unharmed, it was reported. Another sibling was at school at the time, officials said. Oliver Funes-Machado is reportedly the oldest child in the family and had finished 10th grade at Rolesville High School.

North Carolina prosecutors said Tuesday they will seek a mental evaluation of the teen. The Associated Press reported that an attorney for Funes-Machado said his client has “some substantial mental health issues” and was “a pretty profoundly disturbed young man.”

It’s unclear if the rest of the Funes-Machado family is undocumented. Children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. typically qualify for DACA status, which means they are low priority for deportation. It’s believed Funes-Machado was among the youths who qualify for DACA status.

However, such deferred action can be revoked at any time, particularly in the case of someone who commits a crime or is otherwise found to pose a national security or public safety threat.