NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Charges were pending against the son of a Bronx woman Tuesday night, after police said he killed and dismembered his 45-year-old mother and spread her body parts around a neighborhood.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the body of Tanya Byrd was found Tuesday morning, triggering a gruesome investigation.
Byrd’s son, Bashid McLean, was being held within the confines of the 40th Precinct in the Melrose section of the Bronx, in connection with Byrd’s death Tuesday evening. Sources told 1010 WINS the suspect walked into the police station and reported his mother missing, claiming he last saw her with an ex-boyfriend.
Byrd’s daughter and McLean’s sister, Porscha Lovett, spoke with her brother inside the police precinct. She told CBS 2 exclusively what he said.
“He looked me in the eyes and he told me he did nothing wrong,” Lovett said. “He had a lot of hatred towards my mother.”
McLean has six prior arrests, including one for assaulting a police officer, CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported. His family said he also has a history of mental health problems.
Byrd’s dismembered remains were found in a trash bag by a man out walking his dog around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday near East 156th Street and Eagle Avenue in Melrose, police said.
The dog was attracted to the scent coming from one of the bags and when the man opened it, he found the remains and called 911.
The dog, Nana, is a 10-year-old boxer-pit bull mix. Her owner spoke exclusively to CBS 2’s Schneider, but didn’t want his face used on television.
“My dog stopped at a bag and she was irritated by the bag, and I couldn’t get her away from the bag,” he said. “I thought I felt a baby.”
All he felt was flesh. It was not until police arrived that he learned that Byrd’s body parts were stuffed in bags lining his street.
When officers arrived with cadaver dogs, they found body parts inside heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and inside a duffel bag among the pile of trash, police said. The remains were found in at least four different locations, police said.
“They came real fast, and the officer jumped on top of the bag, and he opened the bag, and when he jumped back and said, ‘Oh my God,’” the dog owner said. “I almost went into tears, because I thought he found a baby. But he said, ‘No, it’s hands and arms.’”
“That’s crazy. We still can’t believe what happened right now — like knowing there’s parts everywhere is crazy,” added Melrose resident Annette Hernandez.
Byrd, a home health aide, is the mother of two adult children and has a 7-year-old son with Down Syndrome, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“It’s scary, very scary,” said nearby resident John Zapata.
Elizabeth Cruz, a friend of Byrd’s, was struggling Tuesday night to understand how anyone could kill Byrd in such a horrifying way.
“Anything you would have needed, she would have given it to you with an open arm — anything, anything,” Cruz said.
Police cordoned off a large crime scene and spent the morning searching for evidence. One bag contained a leg and an arm. A portion of a torso with shoulders was found in another. A head was found in a third bag.
“I really don’t know what to think,” said resident Joyce Placencia. “This is the first time I’ve seen something like this happening around here.”
Building superintendents were told not to touch the trash piles. One woman said she was told by her building’s super that a foot was clearly visible from one of the bags.
“It was on top of the garbage that we put out,” she said.
Meanwhile, police scoured the apartment where McLean and his mother lived at 158th Street and Eagle Avenue in the Bronx all day. Sources told CBS 2 officers found several suspicious items, including a saw and bleach.
The dog owner said he smelled bleach on the bags he discovered “on my fingers, yeah, when I pulled it out.”
Family said Byrd’s son told them he last saw her two days ago with her ex-boyfriend, but neither family nor her best friends at the building had ever heard of her having a boyfriend.
“We never seen here with no kind of man; only with her son. That’s it,” Cruz said.
The New York City Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.
Police were interviewing witnesses and searching for surveillance video. Some witnesses told police they saw the bags being dropped off sometime overnight by someone in a sport-utility vehicle.
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