Local News

Officials to evaluate 'mental state' of 18-year-old accused of decapitating mom

Posted March 7, 2017 10:04 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:39 p.m. EDT

— The mental state of an 18-year-old man who allegedly decapitated his mother at a Zebulon home on Monday will be evaluated by authorities as he awaits a formal indictment by a grand jury.

Oliver Mauricio Funes Machada was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Yesenia Funez Beatriz Machado. Franklin County authorities said Funes Machada walked out of the home at 90 Morgan Dr. with a large butcher knife in one hand and his mother's head in the other.

"(Officers) ordered the suspect to drop the knife, which he did, and he was arrested without incident," said Chief Terry Wright with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Mike Waters, the Franklin County district attorney, said Funes Machada's "mental state will be a primary interest" over the next few weeks. Waters said it could take weeks or months to determine exactly what the situation is.

Waters reviewed the recording of the 911 call and said he will not release it.

Funes Machada, who finished 10th grade at Rolesville High School, was given "safekeeper" status due to his mental state, according to Franklin County court officials. The designation is part of guidelines issued by the North Carolina Department of Corrections to assist with prisoner housing when safety and security are a concern.

He was transferred from the Franklin County Jail to Central Prison in Raleigh Tuesday morning.

Neighbors who live nearby said they are reeling from what they witnessed.

"When I came out, there was something laying in the front yard, which I found out later was the mother's head," said Leona Smith.

"It's very hurtful to know something like this can happen in your own neighborhood with such a quiet family with the standard white picket fence, trampoline, playground in the back. To know this happened and then yesterday to see the two younger children sitting in the ditch crying, it was heartbreaking."

Wright said he is working to help the community and his deputies deal with this tragedy.

"It's tough. It's tough for the deputies, it's tough for the community, and we will be offering them assistance because it was a horrific scene," he said.

Funes Machada had worked at a nearby convenience store. His former boss, Brenda Hart, said she was shocked when she heard the news.

"He seemed like a nice kid, quiet. He was just slow at work. He didn't really do a whole lot," she said.

Funes Machada is originally from Honduras and is not a U.S. citizen. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations has issued a detainer on the teen.

According to court documents, he was taking a medication for some kind of mental health condition.

Funes Machada was appointed an attorney, and his next court date is March 14. The next grand jury will meet in April.