The Long Island mother whose son allegedly cut off her head with a knife and kicked it across the street was a beloved language arts professor at a Long Island college.
Students, faculty and administration told reporters they were shocked and saddened to learn their colleague and mentor, Patricia Ward, 66, had been found murdered in the street. Ward was a 28-year veteran of Farmingdale State College. Her 35-year-old son, Derek Ward, lived with her.
Police officials found Ward in the street in front of her apartment building Wednesday evening. Her son's body was found about a mile away on the Long Island Railroad tracks, where officials allege he intentionally threw himself after killing his mother, the New York Post reported.
Derek Ward had a history of psychological problems dating back 10 years. In 2006 he was sentenced to more than a month in jail on charges of illegal gun and pharmaceutical possession, police told reporters.
Neighbors told reporters that Ward had always been protective of her son. One said they two had an unusual relationship.
Farmingdale administration called in counselors to support Ward's bereaved colleagues and students. Police continue their investigation into the deaths.