In a tragic incident, a woman was beheaded by her mentally ill son, who later threw her body and the decapitated head on the streets last week.
The incident took place in Farmingdale, Long Island on 28 October, and had many neighbors believing that the woman's lifeless beheaded body was just another creative decoration for Halloween.
According to a report in the New York Post, the woman identified as Patricia Ward, a professor at SUNY Farmingdale who taught language arts, was killed mercilessly by her psychotic son who later threw himself in front of a Long Island Rail Road train.
"I saw a head . . . It had long, black straight hair. I did a double-take thinking it was a stupid little shrunken heads you would hang as a Halloween thing," 59-year-old Dale Silverman, one of the passersby who witnessed the body was quoted as saying by the website. He was driving home on Secatogue Avenue near Eastern Parkway on the night of the murder.
"I laughed like an idiot. I just laughed" he added.
The body of Ward remained on the streets unattended for about 20 minutes before police arrived. In the meantime, neighbors and passersby had formed a crowd around the body and reportedly were touching it to make sure it was real.
"One guy was tapping her head with his foot to see it was real," 42-year-old Dean Corbo, said. He was driving along the road and spotted the body when he stopped at a sign.
"Some houses around there have pretty elaborate Halloween displays, so it wouldn't have been weird if it was fake," Corbo said.
The report goes on to describe that Patricia's 35-year-old son Derek Ward, who was reportedly a steroid addict, had beheaded his mother with a knife and dragged her body to the road where he also "kicked her head across the street."
The woman had apparently suffered broken ribs and was stabbed multiple times before she was killed. Derek also had a criminal record, which included possession of arms and drug offences.
"Mr. Ward has a psychiatric history dating back approximately 10 years," Detective Lt. John Azzata of Nassau homicide was quoted as saying. He also added that Derek's mental sickness had aggravated in the last year.
There were no records of any calls from the Ward family house concerning domestic violence. Colleagues of Patricia who worked at the school, were shocked at the news of her brutal murder while the neighbors mourned her death.