Residents of Camden, NJ, are mourning another tragic murder/suicide in a town that has consistently been ranked one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the U.S. This time, prosecutors say the victim was 2-year-old Zahree Thomas and the gruesome murder was committed by his own mother Chevonne Thomas in what investigators are describing as “one of the most horrific crime scenes they’ve seen.”
The 33-year-old mother of two reportedly called 9-1-1 around midnight and NBC10 News in Philadelphia reported that she hysterically told the operator that she had done something to her child. Police arrived at the scene on the 1400 Block of Kaighns Avenue around 12:30 to find she had decapitated her son.
Mother Decapitates Own Son, 2, in Horrific Attack
“They were aware that there was somebody else in the home,” Laughlin said. “They could tell that there was somebody else upstairs. So police withdrew from the house.”
After realizing the person was the boy’s mother, prosecutors say police reentered the home and found the mother dead from an apparent self-inflicted stab wound to the neck with a kitchen knife.
After decapitating the boy, Thomas allegedly placed her son’s severed head inside the freezer where police found it.
However, NBC10’s Marisa Brahney says the 33-year-old mother had been arrested in the past on a child endangerment charge.
Police are continuing a large-scale death investigation into the incident and what may have led up to it, but are now labeling it a murder/suicide.
It is unknown at this time if the incident was the result of some form of mental breakdown or a drug-induced episode similar to other recent, grisly attacks across the country. Although unconfirmed, some of those attacks were linked to the synthetic stimulant drug known as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Bliss,” “Cloud Nine,” or simply “bath salts,” which is being blamed for horrific, zombie-like behavior. But, because there is no way to currently test for the drug, it can’t conclusively be linked to recent attacks.
According to a WebMD.com interview with Zane Horowitz, MD, an emergency room physician and medical director of the Oregon Poison Center, the effects of the drug include “agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, and suicidally.”
Mother Previously Arrested on Charges of Child Endangerment
“It’s a very scary stimulant that is out there,” says Horowitz. “We get high blood pressure and increased pulse, but there’s something more, something different that’s causing these other extreme effects. But right now, there’s no test to pick up this drug. The only way we know if someone has taken them is if they tell you they have.”
This murder is especially hard on the citizens of Camden because it comes on the heals of a recent announcement that Camden’s City Council plans to fire the entire local police force and fire department in favor of participating in a county-wide shared service program, a decision supported by NJ Governor Chris Christie, which shocked and angered some residents in the town of less than 80,000 people.
Residents claim a county police force would ignore the crime-infested city, while neighboring cities claim county police would be forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their time fighting crime within the city at their expense.
The town has already seen 40 murders this year, 13 alone in the month of July, making it the city’s worst since September 1949, according to The Daily Mail. The highest number of murders recorded in a single year for the town was 58 in 1995.