Louisburg High student accused of killing sister, stabbing mother
Posted January 19, 2010
Updated October 27, 2011
Louisburg, N.C. — An 18-year-old Louisburg man stabbed his mother and sister early Tuesday with a kitchen knife, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green said.
Julianna Mathews, 14, died of a stab wound to the neck, and Lydia Etanislao, 41, was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
Joseph Bravio Mendez is charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was being held at the Franklin County Jail, awaiting his first court appearance Wednesday morning.
Green said Mendez, a senior at Louisburg High School, confessed to the stabbings.
"His 14-year-old sister was on the sofa asleep, and he just jumped on her and started stabbing her," Green said. "She started screaming, and the mother came in and tried to get him off of her, and then he turned on her and started stabbing her."
Mendez was on the phone with his girlfriend before the incident, and he went to a neighbor's house after the stabbings and asked them to call 911 because he had done something wrong, the sheriff said.
Green said Etanislao told investigators that her son had "suffered some level of a mental handicap" but had never been violent.
Deputies said those who know Mendez said he wasn't a trouble-maker and wasn't exhibiting any signs of depression or mental illness in recent days.
Matthews attended Terrell Lane Middle School. Science teacher, Crystal Davis, called her "a very lively, energetic, happy young lady."
Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive for the incident and said they would look into the possibility of any mental illness.