A 23-year-old man was charged with murder and his friend arrested on lesser charges in connection with the gruesome killing of his mother, whose body was cut up with a power saw and scattered in bags throughout their Bronx neighborhood, law enforcement officials tell NBC 4 New York.
Both men have admitted to chopping up the body and using a shopping cart to dump the parts along the curb in Morrisania, but each is pointing the finger at the other for killing the mother, 45-year-old Tania Byrd, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Bahsid McLean, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder, police said. He and William Harris, 26, are both charged with unlawful dissection of a human body, among other charges. They were in custody and lawyer information was not immediately available.
Law enforcement officials tell NBC 4 New York that McLean has photos of himself cutting up the body.
Officials say the two men tell different stories. The son says he left the apartment he shared with his mother at about 3 a.m. Monday to go to the ATM. When he returned, he has told investigators, his friend had stabbed Byrd to death and threatened to kill him and his 6-year-old brother if he didn't help get rid of the body.
His friend, meanwhile, has told investigators that the son told him he killed his mother, and showed him a photograph of her, dead, asking for his friend's help in disposing of her corpse.
The two suspects agree that they went to a Bronx hardware store to purchase supplies for the job, including a power saw and gloves. Investigators say there are bloodstains at the apartment, and that it appears someone tried to clean up the mess with bleach.
An empty power saw box was also found there. The saw was found at the apartment of the friend's girlfriend, officials said.
Law enforcement officials say the pair cut up the body on Monday night and dumped it around 9:30 p.m. Surveillance camera video shows the son in the apartment building lobby, leaving the elevator with numerous bags, and then video outside the building shows two men wheeling away a shopping cart.
Officials say a man walking his dog along 158th Street in Morrisania early Tuesday morning came upon a plastic bag of what he thought were books. As he moved to open the bag, he noticed a vehicle circling the block and became nervous, so he took the bag around the corner and looked inside, finding two hands and a shoulder.
He sent his son to call police and continued walking the dog. About two blocks away on Eagle Avenue he and the dog came upon a suitcase, and the dog sat down next to it. The man opened the suitcase and found a woman's torso, wearing a bra, according to law enforcement officials.
Responding police found a plastic bag further down Eagle Avenue that contained a leg and a foot, and then nearby on Cauldwell Avenue, they found a black suitcase with a leg and the woman's head.
People who knew Byrd were stunned about the grisly killing.
"Every time you see her, she would have a smile on her face," said neighbor Chastity Agosto. "How could a son do that to his mother?