A 23-year-old Bronx man was in custody Tuesday in connection with the grisly killing and dismemberment of his mother, whose body parts were found in the early morning by dog walkers near an elementary school, police said.
Parts of the woman, who law enforcement sources identified as Tonya Byrd, 45, were strewn around a one-block area of the Melrose section in plastic bags, a duffle bag and suitcase. Address records also listed her name as Tanya Byrd.
The suspect, who as of late Tuesday had not been charged, made statements implicating himself in the killing, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, who wouldn't identify the man.
A motive wasn't clear Tuesday night. About five years ago, Byrd and her son argued over money missing from the apartment, said a law enforcement official. After the argument, Byrd left and later returned to discover money was missing, the official said. Byrd's body parts were found in at least four places near Grove Hill Elementary School, also known as P.S. 157. A man walking his dog with his son around 4:30 a.m. found the duffle bag containing the woman's two hands and shoulders, thinking that the bulky item was a load of books, police said. He discovered the body parts and told his son to call police. On the way home, the animal, attracted by scent, alerted to more body parts in a suitcase, police said.
Police cordoned off the various crime scenes, placing white towels over the discarded remains. Byrd's head was found in a suitcase, while her torso was in a heavy duty plastic bag. At about noon, members of the Crime Section Unit, dressed in biohazard suits, were collecting the body parts. The city medical examiner's office was to determine the cause of death. Some witnesses reportedly heard a car drive away at a high rate of speed earlier in the morning.
School remained in session as police canvassed the area. At least one resident of the neighborhood -- who would identify himself only as Ellery -- called the scene gruesome.
"We haven't had anything like this in a long time around here," he said. With Gary Dymski ___
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