(Photo: Screen Grab via My FOX Phoenix)
A 51-year-old Phoenix, Ariz., man is now facing first degree murder charges after he allegedly hacked his 13-year-old son to death with an ax because he thought the boy was demon possessed and wanted to eat him.
Phoenix police say they made the horrifying discovery on New Year's Eve after the boy's mother called to say she couldn't reach her son, David Sherill, who was staying with her ex-husband, Gary Reagan Sherrill, according to a My FOX Phoenix report.
The report describes the murder scene as "unimaginable" and neighbors say Gary Sherrill was acting strange before he committed the gruesome crime.
"He (Gary) was out in his yard yelling at the tree the day before. So the man apparently had lost it," said Divina Wes, one of Sherrill's neighbors.
Another neighbor, who declined to show her face on camera, said she was rocked with grief because she had reported the father's strange behavior to Child Protective Services and they told her there was nothing they could do for the boy.
"They (Child Protective Services) asked me if I've ever witnessed anything first hand like abuse or neglect, and because I hadn't actually witnessed that they said there was nothing that they could do," said the unidentified neighbor, who said it was Sherill who was the monster inside the family home and not his son.
"I'm heartbroken. I cried a lot last night," she added. "I know that all the windows were blacked out with tin foil. I never saw the child playing. Whenever he was let out of the house he (father) had a tight hold on him, and to be perfectly honest with you, in the beginning I kind-of thought he (boy) was a kidnapped type of person."
Neighbors say when police broke the news to the boy's mother she was inconsolable.
"The mother of the child was down here and crying and screaming and inconsolable obviously," said Divina West.
Divorce records mentioned very little about the father's mental state except: "The father is unemployed and this has likely impacted his mental state..." The records also revealed that the boy's parents had joint legal custody.