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Camden Neighbor: Tot’s Mom was Topless, Upset Prior to Decapitation

A woman who had previously admitted blacking out from drug use decapitated her 2-year-old son and put the head in her home freezer before killing herself, just five months after having regained custody of the child, authorities said Wednesday.

Scene of Camden murder-suicide
Scene of Camden murder-suicide (WPVI TV)

Chevonne Thomas had lost custody of Zahree Thomas in 2010 after allegedly leaving the boy unattended in a car, and admitting she had blacked out in a nearby park after smoking marijuana laced with PCP, a sedative that can cause trance-like conditions, prosecutors said.

Thomas decapitated her son and put his head in the freezer of their Camden home before calling 911 just after midnight Tuesday. Police say she stabbed herself in the neck while officers were outside.

During the 911 call she first accused her boyfriend of stabbing her child, then admitted repeatedly “I did it,” said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor’s office.

Laughlin said results of toxicology tests would be needed to determine if Thomas was high on drugs at the time.

Officers found Zahree Thomas’ body on the first floor of the home, then found the boy’s head in the freezer. Laughlin said the child’s mother was upstairs still talking to the 911 operator when officers backed out of the home because they didn’t know if she was armed.

The mother stabbed herself in the neck with a kitchen knife, he said.

A medical examiner also found a chest stab wound and marks on the child’s arms, Laughlin said.

Neighbor Melanie Troutman said she saw Thomas sitting with her boyfriend in front of their Camden home about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Troutman said the woman was “clearly upset” — and topless.

She said the boyfriend led Thomas back into the home a short time later.

Authorities said the boyfriend left before the murder-suicide.

The city of Camden will offer counseling and community support according to WPVI TV.

The community support counseling will take place Wednesday at Bethel Deliverance Church Camden, located at 812 Kaighns Avenue, from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Thursday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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