A New York City woman arrested for allegedly murdering her mother with a hammer believed the victim had been possessed by demons, the New York Post reports.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, police arrested 26-year-old Charlene Novoa, who is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of her mother, 66-year-old Silma Garcia.
Authorities reportedly responded to the family’s Bronx apartment on Friday evening and found Garcia’s body shortly before 7 p.m., ABC New York reports. It is not clear what prompted police to visit the apartment, except that it was in response to a 911 call, according to CBS News.
Investigators later located Garcia face down beneath a bed in the apartment, which was reportedly filled with garbage.
Medics at the scene had attempted to help Garcia, but the injuries were too severe and she was pronounced dead, News12 reports.
Detectives saw scratches on Novoa’s hands and face. She first asserted that the injuries were self-inflicted, but she later admitted to striking her mother with something heavy. Officers subsequently arrested Novoa.
Garcia’s son, who also lives in the unit, allegedly told investigators that his sister bludgeoned his mother with a hammer because of a belief that she had been possessed by demons, sources told the Post.
Preliminary evidence indicates that Garcia sustained trauma to her head and body.
Judy Santiago, an upstairs neighbor, told the Post that she would regularly see Garcia each week for lunch.
“The son was really sick and nervous,” Santiago told the Post. “The daughter was always very quiet.”
Angela, another neighbor whose mother was friends with the victim, added that Garcia would often visit and socialize with them.
“She used to come over all the time. They’d hangout and she’d help my mom clean the closets and declutter. My mom would always let her know when we had extra food for her.”
Angela told the newspaper that she and her mother had been trying to reach Garcia in recent days to provide her food and see if she wanted to attend a gospel service with them.
“We didn’t think nothing of it until this morning when we saw the crime scene,” Angela told the Post. “If it was a stranger that killed her, that’s one thing, but her own kid, that’s crazy. Charlene was always quiet and didn’t go out, just stayed inside and played video games.”
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