Zebulon teen charged in mom’s beheading was in mental facility recently, friend says

ZEBULON, N.C. (WNCN) — The Franklin County teen deputies say beheaded his mom Monday afternoon was released from a mental health facility less a week before the killing, a family friend said.

CLICK FOR 16 PHOTOS OF THE SUSPECT AND SCENE

Miriam Banegas, a longtime friend of the Funes-Machado family, said she is heartbroken over the loss of Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machada and concerned for the son, Oliver, who is accused in the killing.

“He did it with his hands, but he didn’t do it with his heart. Like it was a product of something else,” Banegas said Wednesday through a translator.

The home where it happened was called a “gruesome scene” by Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead.

Wednesday night, the first responders who worked the crime scene on Morgan Drive near Zebulon gathered for group counseling, officials said.

“It takes a toll on them and we try to offer them some assistance,” Winstead said.

A special team from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is providing the session.

RELATED: Warrant: Zebulon beheading suspect said he killed mom ‘because I felt like it’

Winstead said the mother was decapitated and her face and body were mutilated.

“It’s very important that they can get in there and get their feelings out and what’s bothering them, so they can come back to work and not have those problems on their shoulders,” Winstead said.

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Banegas remembers the slain 35-year-old Yesenia Funes Beatriz Machada as a good person.

“She was very sweet. She always wanted to give advice to everyone. She would always talk about God and she loved to dance,” Banegas said.

According to Winstead, 18-year-old Oliver Funes-Machado’s recent release from a facility was court ordered.

Banegas says the teen’s problems started years ago.

“About 14 years old he started being very isolated. He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to go out to parties. He didn’t want to go anywhere. So he would remain to himself, in his room pretty much all the time,” Banegas said.

RELATED: Teen charged with murder after mother decapitated near Zebulon, officials say

Funes-Machado remains in Central Prison, where he was transferred from the Franklin County Detention Complex. His attorney said the prison has better facilities to deal with his client’s issues and to evaluate his mental health.

Search warrants show that deputies found four medications labeled as being for the suspect on a bedroom dresser.

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