Authorities arrested a 9-year-old boy earlier this week on suspicion of shooting and killing his adoptive mother at their home in southern Michigan, according to multiple reports.
Family members said authorities found Pauline Marie Randol, 51, dead in the living room of her family’s Fawn River Township home on Monday morning, according to WOOD-TV and The Detroit News. She had been shot with a rifle, according to the News.
After the discovery, police arrested Randol’s adoptive son, who is not being identified because of his age, on open murder and felony firearm charges, WXMI reported.
Randol’s 23-year-old daughter, Reagan Martin, told the News that her mother was trying to get help for the boy, who came to the family about two years ago with “scars” from his childhood.
“She took him in to care for him as her own,” Martin told the News. She described the 9-year-old as “a sweet, caring young man who needed help further than the help my mother gave him, and she tried.”
Another of Randol’s daughters, Harley Martin, told WOOD-TV that despite the situation, her adoptive brother is “not a bad kid.”
“He loved his mom,” she told the news station. “I don’t want people to think he did not love his mom.”
She said the 9-year-old has a history of mental health issues but that he “just recently started snapping” and recently began a new medication.
"He’s traumatized by what he saw in there. That’s all he told my dad about, was seeing (Randol)," Harley Martin told WOOD-TV. "It’s going to mess him up for a really long time because he does not realize what he’s done."
Randol’s neighbor, Joseph Lancaster, told WDIV-TV that he’d previously seen the boy shooting a BB gun and a bow and arrow.
“He shot at my grandkids with the BB gun,” Lancaster said. “I told him, ‘I’ll spank your butt if I catch you doing that again.’”
The boy was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a state-run juvenile facility, according to county Sheriff Bradley Balk. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was charged as an adult or a juvenile.
Authorities have not released the circumstances of the killing or details of why the child was charged.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.