A father has been arrested for allegedly murdering his nine-year-old son with a hatchet, as the boy slept on the couch.
Matthew Raymond Hernandez was brutally slayed as his great-grandmother looked on and pleaded with his father, 36-year-old Phillip Raymond Hernandez, to stop, police said.
The horrific killing at the family’s home in South Natomas, California last week, came as Hernandez battled his ex-wife to keep custody of their two sons.
The couple’s other son, who is 12, was at the home at the time of the attack, but was not harmed. Hernandez went into the backyard and fetched a hatchet, police said. He then smashed through a sliding glass door to get back inside the home, but police do not know why.
The boy’s great-grandmother heard the glass shatter and ran to the living room, where she saw Hernandez standing over his sleeping son and armed with the hatchet, police said.
She tried to stop him from hurting the boy, but Hernandez allegedly threw her to the side and began attacking the boy with the hatchet as the woman looked on, police officer, Michele Gigante said.
Police received two hysterical calls from the female relative as Hernandez left the scene.
Officers arrived to find the boy dead and searched the neighbourhood for the man, the Sacramento Bee reported. He was found walking a mile away and taken into custody.
“Everybody is just trying to deal with losing a child and the father of a child, because basically we lost them both,” a relative, Chris Duran, said. “There is no way to explain something like this.”
Gigante said investigators were also deeply affected by what they found at the scene.
“I can see how horrific the scene must have been by how the detectives are responding. As a parent, I couldn’t even imagine it,” Gigantesaid. “You don’t want to envision it in your mind.”
The boys’ mother, Jessica Hernandez, lives out of state but will travel to be with her surviving son.