of Retirement, St James, were left in shock after news emerged that a woman had been found decapitated inside her house on Monday evening.

Fifty-three-year-old Michelle Gayle-Brown is suspected to have been attacked by her mentally ill adult son, a police source told the Jamaica Observer.

It is believed that Gayle-Brown, a mother of one, was killed early Monday morning. She failed to turn up to work in Freeport which aroused suspicion among her co-workers who requested that the police conduct a check of her house.

The check resulted in her headless body being found inside the house. Her head was later found under a bed.

When the Jamaica Observer visited the community on Monday evening, a grim picture was painted of the horrific incident by residents, who described the deceased as “a pleasant, God-fearing woman”. In addition to being beheaded, Gayle-Brown is said to have been found with defensive wounds across her upper body.

Her adult son surrendered to the police at the crime scene, emerging from a dark road with his hands held in the air. He was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police van on location.

The deceased woman’s neighbour, Nolda Barnaby, told the Observer that they shared “a very good relationship”. Obviously traumatised by the gruesome killing, Barnaby said she has been in “complete horror” since learning on the woman’s demise.

“We were very good friends. She was somebody you can depend on. My daughter nearly drop dung when mi tell her wah happen,” Barnaby said.

Her last conversation with Gayle-Brown, though brief, will forever linger in the mind of the grieving woman.

“Sunday morning mi did haffi rush out fi go a work, and when mi reach mi call her because mi realise seh she did a call me. From that mi nuh hear from her again,” Barnaby said, her voice heavy with emotion.

Adrian Muirhead, a cousin of the deceased woman, told the Observer that his family was in shock.

“She is like my sister. We grew up together, so we shared a close relationship,” Muirhead said.

“We had a very good relationship, we communicated every week. Bwoy, I can’t even fathom this. I don’t even know what to think. It is just shocking. Everybody in shock right now. We did not expect this,” he told the Observer.

The man said he received the shocking news from a concerned family member after several failed attempts to reach Gayle-Brown by phone.

“I got a call from a cousin in upper St James who asked me if I heard from Michelle. Shortly after, one of her neighbours called me to ask the same question, and I said ‘no’. I tried to call her phone but I didn’t get through. My cousin called back to tell me what happened and I came here,” he said.

Residents who gathered at the crime scene stood traumatised as they described their relationship with the dead woman.

“I am in shock as well because we had an interaction on Friday. She asked me to share something that I had with her. She was saying to me that as neighbours we need to interact more,” one man said.

“I would always see her going to church on a Sunday or to work during the week. Even the other day, when our road was impassable because of flood water, she and another lady came with a shovel to clear the way,” another one added.

A man who told the Observer that he was also a neighbour of Gayle-Brown’s reported that the suspected man had been acting “strangely” on Sunday evening.

“Yesterday I was doing some work outside in the back and I heard him making some strange noise over there. He was shouting loudly, which was out of the ordinary. He wasn’t even talking to anybody,” he said.

Gayle-Brown’s son has been detained.

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