A 13-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing his mother in Garden Grove on Wednesday had been placed on house arrest by a judge earlier in the week, according to a report.
The teen, who was known to law enforcement, had run away twice in the weeks preceding the fatal incident, his grandmother told the Orange County Register on Thursday.
The first time was around April 20 or 21. He had been missing for three days before the family had issued a desperate and public plea on April 23 on the Facebook page of the victim, identified by police as 48-year-old Barbara Scheuer-Souzer.
According to the post, which was shared more than 1,700 times, the child had autism. He had been without his medication all that time, and the family was concerned that the teen “may appear to be on drugs” because of that, the post stated. “He is not violent but may be scared.”
The following day, he was located in Pomona, according to a separate post on Scheuer-Souzer’s page, which did not have any other details surrounding the circumstances under which he was located.
In a phone interview from her home in Salem, Oregon, Eleanor Watson said her grandson ran away from home again last week.
This time, he was arrested by police after he triggered a burglary alarm when he entered a tented home that was set to be fumigated, Watson told the paper.
He was booked into Juvenile Hall and placed under house arrest earlier this week, she said.
“I didn’t trust him to obey the law,” Watson told the Register. “I wanted him in custody. He has a temper and was volatile.”
On Wednesday, around 5:45 p.m., the teen allegedly stabbed Scheuer-Souzer several times in the stomach. By the time a neighbor found her, outside the family’s home in the 11000 block of Gilbert Street, she was covered in blood.
As she was dying, the victim identified the suspect to responding officers as her 13-year-old son, according to a Garden Grove Police Department news release.
Scheuer-Souzer was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later died.
“In my 25 years of doing this job, I haven’t handled a call where a child has killed a parent,” Garden Grove Lt. Carl Whitney told the Register. “Usually, it’s the other way around. People don’t think of kids having those types of thoughts of doing something so heinous.”
Officers searched the home, but could not find the son. During a search of the surrounding area, police found the boy at a shopping center about a half-mile away and took him into custody without incident, the release stated.
Police are not identifying the teen because of his age. It was not immediately known whether the Orange County District Attorney’s Office would file charges in the case.
A motive for the stabbing has also not yet been released.
The grandmother told the Register the mother and son sometimes clashed over chores. He had threatened her, “but never hurt her, as far as I know,” Watson said. And while the relationship was strained at time, that didn’t stop Scheuer-Souzer from being a doting mother.
“Everything she did, she did it for him,” Watson told the newspaper. “She would move mountains if it would help him.”
She described her grandson as a good student and high-functioning, someone who knew the difference between right and wrong.
“I don’t know how all this happened,” Watson said. “I am beside myself and can’t even think straight. This is my worst nightmare.”