Local News

Warrants: Cary man walked past dying mother for at least a day

Posted March 19, 2018 11:00 a.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2018 4:48 p.m. EDT

— A Cary man let his mother die after she fell down the stairs in their home so he could get control of her savings, according to search warrants released Monday.

Eric Paul Brunner, 39, of 6801 Marksmans Way, was charged last week with second-degree murder and abuse of an elder with serious injury. He remains in the Wake County jail under a $1 million bond.

Brunner called 911 on Feb. 19, and paramedics found 74-year-old Cynthia Braverman Brunner dead on the floor of the home.

The cause of death hasn't been determined.

According to the application for search warrants to seize computers, other electronic devices, bank records and medications in the home, Cynthia Brunner was lying in her own vomit at the bottom of a staircase and was naked from the waist down.

Eric Brunner told investigators that she had fallen at least one day earlier and that he never attempted to help her. He also said that his mother suffered from macular degeneration and that he was her caregiver but that he hadn't provided her any medications since Feb. 13.

"Based on his statements that she was moving or 'squirming,' it is believed that she was alive for some time after falling," the application states. "Mr. Brunner admitted to investigators that his mother was alive and made attempts to communicate with him for some time after falling, however, he willfully failed to assist her. He further admitted that he knew his inaction would likely lead to her death and that he wanted her to die."

Brunner told investigators he had a "tenuous relationship" with his mother and believed he would gain access to the $30,000 or so in her bank accounts after her death, according to the application.

One of the search warrant applications noted that Eric Brunner had told a member of his church in emails about his "negative feelings toward his mother" in the days before her death.

A neighbor said the Brunners kept to themselves and were rarely seen outside the home where they had lived for at least 25 years. Authorities said in the search warrant applications that the inside of the home showed evidence of hoarding by the mother and son.