Professor beheaded in what witnesses first thought was Halloween prank
A man beheaded his mother in her Long Island, N.Y., apartment late Tuesday and then dragged the body and head out onto a street, where onlookers initially thought they were witnessing a macabre Halloween prank, police and witnesses said.
The suspected killer, who was not identified, jumped in front of a commuter train near the Farmingdale, N.Y., home moments later, killing himself, Nassau County police said. Police said the woman appeared to be in her 60s, while the killer appeared to be around 30. Police sources told Newsday he had a “drug problem, apparently.”
The female victim has been identified by Farmingdale State College officials as Patricia Ward, a longtime professor at the university who taught language arts.
“There’s a lot of tears, it’s a sad place today,” Patrick Calabria, vice president of institutional advancement at the college, told FoxNews.com. “She was well-known, well-liked and well-respected.”
Ward, a 28-year veteran, was a very “popular and devoted” instructor at the school of 8,400 students. Counselors are being provided for students and faculty members, said Calabria, who added that the university is now considering how to memorialize Ward.
Police did not initially cite any connection to terrorism, although the incident recalled last month’s horrific attack in Moore, Okla., in which an ex-con and recent convert to Islam beheaded a former co-worker at a food processing plant. Also last month, a 25-year-old British man beheaded an 82-year-old woman who was gardening in her yard when she was attacked.
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