A man allegedly murdered his own mother and burned her body outside a home. Authorities out of Truro, Massachusetts, said they are working on putting defendant Adam Howe, 34, under mental evaluation. Colleagues remembered victim Susan Howe, 69, as a beloved and respected town leader.
“Our hearts are heavy with the news that we have lost a beloved member of our community, Susan Howe,” said the Truro Joint Select Board on Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this time of tragic loss. We are following the lead of law enforcement as they investigate this tragedy and have no further comment at this time.”
Cops and local prosecutors said there was a request for a well-being check and a separate report of a fire. Emergency personnel responded Friday at approximately 9:30 p.m.
“Upon arrival they encountered a male subject outside the house and a fire on the front lawn,” authorities said. “As the emergency personnel realized that it was a body that was burning, the male subject ran into the house and locked the door. The Cape Cod Regional SWAT Team responded and ultimately made entry into the home placing the subject into custody.”
The next step is to determine his mental state.
“Arrangements are being made to have Mr. Howe evaluated for mental health issues as a result of conversations with and information from family members,” authorities said. “The matter remains under investigation by State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, Truro Police, and the State Fire Marshalls Office.”
“We have to prove, affirmatively, at any subsequent legal proceedings that this guy was sane at the time of the crime,” Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said, according to The Boston Globe. “We want the evaluation done closest in time to the actions that resulted in someone’s death.”
Truro is a small town along Cape Cod Bay, featuring 2,454 people, according to the 2020 census. Susan Howe was a local leader, serving as president of the Truro Historical Society and chair of the Truro Commission on Disabilities.
“She’s an amazing soul,” Amy Rogers, who served on the Truro Commission on Disabilities with Howe, told the Globe. “I’m heartbroken over it.”
Rogers and another commission member Hannah King both said they knew about Adam’s mental health challenges. King said he once called Susan during a 2021 dinner.
“He was yelling at her over the speaker phone,” she reportedly said.
“The mental health system — I’ve seen it fail so many times in these kinds of tragedies,” O’Keefe reportedly said. “It’s really a broken system and I hope we fix it one of these days.”
Cops up in the town of Tewksbury — in the northeast part of the state — said they arrested Adam Howe back on Aug. 11, regarding a break-in at a local business. Cops said they found him and learned he was also facing a warrant from Salem, New Hampshire, for a count of receiving stolen property.
“During a subsequent search Tewksbury officers learned that HOWE was in possession of Suboxone, a Class B substance, without a prescription,” police said.
[Mugshot via Tewksbury Police Department]
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