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Published On: Wed, Oct 29th, 2014

Patricia Ward identifed was woman beheaded by son, Derek Ward

A New York man with a history of psychiatric problems was identified by police as the killer who decapitated his mother Tuesday and then killed himself by stepping in front of an oncoming Long Island Rail Road train, Nassau County police said.

Patricia Ward, 66, a  professor at Farmingdale State College, was killed inside her Farmingdale apartment by her son, Derek Ward, 35, some time after 4 p.m. Tuesday, police said to the press on Wednesday.

 Patricia WardThe murder scene was so shocking that some ignored the body, thinking it was a Halloween prank.

According to a witness, Patricia Ward was found “wearing only a bra and pants, was lying on one side of the street and her head was on the other” according to earlier reports.

“Basically, I saw the dead body in the street with no head with a sheet over it and a dog running around,” witness Barbara Smalls told CBS2.

“I literally thought it was a prank,” one witness told WCBS 880. “We saw the body on one side and saw the head on the other side. I thought everything was a prank.”

“Body is laying out in the street without a head on it,” Smalls told 1010 WINS. “You figure, OK, someone is playing a Halloween prank, but for it to turn out to be a reality — wow.”

Derek Ward killed himself in less than a half hour after the murder.

Farmingdale State College identified Ward as a longtime professor at the school.

“Patricia Ward was a member of the campus for 28 years,” the college said in a statement. “She was well-known, well-liked and well-respected. The campus is a very sad place today.”

Police said Derek Ward had a history of psychiatric issues and was arrested years ago for gun possession and criminal mischief. Police said a knife was recovered in the apartment.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. New York woman beheaded, linked murder suicide case involving man killed by train - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] UPDATE: The woman and her son have both been identified by police – details HERE […]

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