Camden NJ Woman Decapitates Son And Then Kills Herself
Wow. This is really sad.
A Camden mother who temporarily lost custody of her baby after a 2010 child-endangerment charge decapitated the boy and then committed suicide Wednesday, just months after getting her son back. Chevonne Thomas, 34, placed the head of her 2-year-old son, Zahree, in the freezer and called 911, ranting incoherently before fatally thrusting a knife into her own neck about 12:30 a.m., authorities said.
In 2010, Thomas, a 1996 graduate of Northeast High School in Philadelphia, was arrested on an endangerment charge after she told police she was high on drugs, “blacked out,” and could not remember where she left her baby, court records show. The charge was dismissed in October 2011 after a witness recanted allegations that Thomas left Zahree alone in a car, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said.
“This was a one-witness case, and consequently we could not indict,” Faulk said. The Prosecutor’s Office closely reviewed how the 2010 charge was handled after the murder-suicide, he said.
“If those same facts were presented to us again, we would have done the same exact thing again,” Faulk said, noting that authorities properly notified the state Department of Children and Families of the arrest. The agency took Zahree away from Thomas after the arrest and put him in the care of his maternal grandmother, Faulk said.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Children and Families said Zahree “had previously been residing with relatives while his mother sought court-ordered treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders.” Thomas regained custody in court in April.
“As with all child deaths due to suspected abuse or neglect, we will vigorously investigate the circumstances around the death of Zahree Thomas as well as his mother,” the agency’s statement said. Officials confirmed that the agency had an open case and had been working with family members to support Thomas and her son. The department has been under the supervision of a federal judge since 2003 as a result of high-profile lapses in case oversight.
On a rambling six-minute 911 recording obtained by several news media representatives, Thomas sounds incoherent and agitated. After telling a dispatcher that her boyfriend stabbed her son, she admits she stabbed him with a knife. “You know what, I did it. I’m lying,” she said, repeating the admission later in the tape.
When the dispatcher asks whether her son is bleeding, she answers: “He is, not much.” She then says: “He’s not bleeding anymore.” She tells another dispatcher that she didn’t take her Prozac, “but I should have.”
When police arrived at the Parkside rowhouse, in the 1400 block of Kaighns Avenue, they found the boy’s torso in a first-floor room and Thomas barricaded in a second-floor bedroom. Authorities continued talking to Thomas on the phone but did not immediately force their way into the bedroom because they did not know whether she was armed.
After the brief phone negotiation, Thomas plunged the knife into her neck, causing an injury so severe that when police entered the room shortly afterward, she was dead. She had a stab wound to the chest as well, authorities said.
Evidence of drug use was found in the house, but it will be several weeks before blood test results are available, said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office. Faulk said that although Thomas admitted using drugs in 2010, there was not enough evidence to file drug charges then or substantiate child endangerment.
Drugs are really bad. SMH.
R.I.P. to precious little Zahree.