ZEBULON — A man accused of beheading his mother in Franklin County was in the country illegally and is now wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation, ICE officials said Wednesday.
Oliver Funes-Machado, 18, was arrested at the family home on Morgan Drive, off Carlyle Road just northeast of Zebulon, on Monday afternoon and charged with first-degree murder.He is said to have called 911 to report the killing and stayed on the phone until deputies arrived, Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead told reporters. When law enforcement got to the home, Winstead said, Funes-Machado apparently walked out of the house holding the head of his mother, Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machado, 35, in one hand and what appeared to be a large butcher knife in the other.
The teen’s name, originally reported as Funez, appears as Funes-Machado on federal documents.
He is from Honduras and was living in the United States illegally, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said Wednesday morning.
The federal agency filed what’s called a detainer for Funes-Machado. A detainer does not infringe on criminal charges or proceedings against Funes-Machado, but requires law enforcement to notify ICE if he is being released, so he can be put in the agency’s custody, Cox said.
Cox said he did not know the immigration status of the other members of Funes-Machado’s family, but said they are not in ICE custody.
A sworn statement given by Det. A.R. Roberts of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and filed at the county courthouse as part of a search warrant said that Funes-Machado told dispatchers that “he stabbed her ‘like 8 times’ and left the knife in her mouth.”
The statement said Funes-Machado told dispatchers that he had killed her “because I felt like it.” He also told dispatchers that his 4-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother were in the home at the time.
After Funes-Machado was arrested without incident, deputies secured the home and waited for a search warrant to further investigate the property.
The search yielded bloody clothing and shoe prints; a large, blood-covered kitchen knife; and medication used to treat psychosis and schizophrenia that investigators say they think belonged to Funes-Machado, documents said.
Funes-Machado’s public defender, Louisburg attorney C. Boyd Sturges III, said in a phone interview with the Associated Press that he spoke with the teen for an hour in the Franklin County jail.
“It does appear there’s some substantial mental health issues involved in this case,” Sturges said. “I’m not a doctor, so I can’t really elaborate. He’s a pretty profoundly disturbed young man in a mental health kind of way.”
No motive for the killing has been determined, and deputies will continue investigating and conducting interviews, said Ninth District Attorney Michael Waters.
Randy Mullins, who lives across Morgan Drive from the family, was pulling out of his driveway Monday when he noticed that sheriff’s deputies had handcuffed Funes-Machado to a metal street light at the edge of the front yard.
“I thought something was up with the kid, and when I passed by he looked up at me,” said Mullins, 59. “I asked the officer if there was anything wrong, and he told me, ‘No, no, just go on.’ He wasn’t upset. He kept his cool, but you could tell he was rattled by what he saw.”
Mullin had nearly left the Morgan Downs subdivision when his daughter called his mobile phone and told him there had been a murder on Morgan Drive. He turned his car around and went past 90 Morgan Drive.
Sheriff’s investigators eventually covered the head, which sat in the yard until 10 p.m., when the woman’s remains were transported by the coroner’s office, Mullins said.
Franklin Chief Deputy Terry Wright said the sheriff’s office had not responded to any calls at the family’s home since they moved in last June.
Mullins, who has lived on the street for 25 years, described his new neighbors as quiet, polite people who kept to themselves.
The children’s father was at work at the time of the killing, said Waters, the district attorney. Mullins said the father usually worked in Virginia Beach, but was working in Raleigh on Monday.
Funes-Machado is being held at Central Prison in Raleigh and is scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing March 14, Waters said.
Thomasi McDonald contributed to this report.
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