The body of a woman, whose head was severed, was found Wednesday night after 30-year-old Derek Ward jumped in front of a Long Island Rail Road train heading to Ronkonkoma. Police were in search of the mother when they found a body, later identified as Patricia Ward, decapitated in the street. The head was on one side of the street, while the body on the other, after Derek Ward was seen dragging the woman’s mutilated body, wrapped in plastic, out into the road. The bizarre part of the event, however, is the fact that the witnesses did not report the crime as they thought it was simply a Halloween prank.
Neighbors on the street where Patricia Ward lived in Farmingdale saw a man bring out a corpse and head, wrapped in a bag, but reported after questioned that they thought that the whole thing looked fake. They were not aware of what really went on when Ward’s son decapitated her. As police officials were trying to confront Derek Ward at a train station he then jumped in front of it.
Information from colleagues, neighbors and others who knew Patricia Ward tried to help police to fill in the blanks on why such a heinous crime would happen. According to testimony Derek Ward had been suffering from mental illness for quite some time. Though he had previously been on medication, it was said that he quit taking it. His mother tried to seek help for him but he simply would not take it.
Colleagues of Patricia Ward stated that she was having trouble at home, though she did not talk about it often, or to many people. They stated that she was divorced from her husband and had lost one of two sons to death, previously. They said she was still trying to take care of her other son, Derek, who was not doing well with his sickness.
Patricia was apparently a professor at Farmingdale State College. She taught Language Arts and was described as energetic and innovative by students. She was known for coming in early and staying late for students. She was involved in the Long Island Educational Opportunity Center which is a vocational program that is state funded that offers help to disadvantaged high school and adult students. One faculty member told a reporter that Patricia was well loved by everyone at the school.
Derek has been arrested for various charges before. According to sources, he also had a drug problem. Neighbors had never reported any suspicions of domestic problems. The mother and son lived in the apartment where Patricia’s body was found for only about three months.
Though witnesses thought that the body and head being placed on the street was nothing more than a Halloween prank, it turns out that the murder of Patricia Ward is a tragic event, that no one realized was happening until after it was too late. Though she never talked about her son’s illness, it seems that in the end it got the best of him. Police do not yet know what the motive was but they are definitely holding into account his sickness. For now, the facts are that Patricia Ward was the woman identified in the murder-suicide case in Long Island.
By Crystal Boulware