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Mother decapitates toddler, puts head in fridge, kills herself

August 22, 2012|By Tina Susman

A New Jersey woman decapitated her toddler son, put his head in a refrigerator and then stabbed herself to death Wednesday after dialing 911, police say.

Officers who responded to Chevonne Thomas' 911 call were in her home, unaware she was sitting upstairs, when they discovered the body of 2-year-old Zahree Thomas on the first floor. When they realized someone was on the second floor, most of the officers withdrew and set up a perimeter around the house until they could find a way to safely determine who was inside.

By the time they had gained access to the second floor, by going in through a window, Thomas, 33, was dead of a self-inflicted stab wound to her neck, said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor's office.

Laughlin spoke to reporters on the street outside the small house as people who knew Thomas sobbed loudly. Yellow police tape surrounded the home, where Thomas had lived only for a couple of months, according to neighbors who talked to local news media.

The Associated Press reported that Thomas had lost custody of Zahree in 2010 after allegedly leaving him unattended in a vehicle and admitting to drug use. She regained custody five months ago.

Laughlin said Thomas dialed 911 at about 12:30 a.m.

"The information they received was muddled, but it led them to believe there was a child in jeopardy on this block," he said.

According to AP, Thomas first accused her boyfriend of hurting the boy but then said, "I did it, I did it." Laughlin said the phone call was "long, rambling, very incoherent," AP reported.

Officers had to break into the house and quickly discovered the boy's body. They then found the boy's head in the refrigerator. Thomas, meanwhile, was upstairs on the phone with 911. Laughlin said it was protocol for officers to withdraw upon hearing someone upstairs, because they did not know who it was or whether the person was armed.

"I know that the officers ... are very shaken up by this," he said. "Everybody here is very shaken up."

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tina.susman@latimes.com

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