It was 7:30 in the morning on July 20 when deputies discovered 56-year-old Donna Zaragoza dead in one bedroom of her Bel Air home and her despondent 16-year-old son, Andrew Zaragoza, locked behind a closed door in a separate bedroom on the same floor.
"Negotiations for that person to show themselves commenced and deputies were able to talk that person out of the bedroom and it was found that he also resided at the residence and he was the deceased victim's son," said Major Jack Simpson of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Initially, police ruled it a suspicious death, but the C. Milton Wright High School student has since been arrested for murder.
According to charging documents, Andrew told police,
"My mom was taking pills this morning, she hit me and I killed her," and when he finally opened the door, the teen had several cuts and wounds to his face and neck."
"We found out recently that the injuries that he had sustained were self-inflicted," said Simpson.
Forensic evidence surrounding his mother's death also suggested she'd been murdered.
In addition to major trauma to the skull and a bloodied ball-peen hammer found next to her body on the bed, Zaragoza also had suffered a single stab wound to the back and another to the chest.
Investigators would later discover a bloody kitchen knife tucked behind her son's bedroom door.
"We put the pieces together. We did a search warrant on the residence. We took statements from the young man, and we realized through the investigation that he had, in fact, killed his mother," said Simpson.
As if that evidence wasn't enough, police also found a letter dated that same day signed by Andrew in which he described killing his mother and plans to take his own life as well.
They also later learned that more than an hour before deputies arrived at the home, Andrew had texted a person with a graphic picture of his mother's murder scene, announcing that his life was now over.
Andrew Zaragoza also claimed that he had drank bleach before deputies arrived in an attempt to take his own life.
He's now being held with no bail on a series of charges including first-degree murder.