ESTACADA, Ore. (AP) — A weeping father spoke in shock as he described his son who is accused of decapitating his mother on Mother's Day and bringing her head to a grocery store in rural Oregon.
"I never foresaw a problem. If I had I would have stopped it," David Webb told The Associated Press before bursting into loud sobs during a phone interview. "I just can't believe I lost my wife and son in one day. ... I don't know. I wish I did. I wish I had some answers, but I don't. I waited all my life to retire with my wife, and now I can't. That's all I know."
Authorities say Joshua Lee Webb, 36, showed up at a grocery store in a nearby town carrying a human head and began stabbing a checkout clerk before being subdued.
David Webb, struggling to process his wife's death and son's arrest, said his son had vision problems and received Social Security payments.
His mother had said she believed her son was depressed, but David Webb said he never saw any indication of that when he spoke with Joshua. They had recently bought their son a dog because he wanted one.
An autopsy was performed Monday on the body of Tina Marie Webb, 59, the same day that her son was booked on charges of murder and attempted murder.
The bizarre sequence of events began Sunday afternoon — Mother's Day — in Colton, a once-significant logging town about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Portland.
Joshua Webb killed his mother at their rural home, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office says.
Joshua Webb then showed up at a Thriftway in downtown Estacada, about 12 miles to the north. When he entered the small grocery store, he was covered in blood, had a large "kitchen-type" knife and was carrying a severed human head, authorities said.
He began stabbing a store employee, but he was quickly overwhelmed by other employees, who held him until police arrived, authorities said.
"He didn't say anything after he was subdued," said Ernie Roberts, interim police chief in nearby Sandy, Oregon, said Monday.
"He was in like a catatonic state, wasn't speaking to anybody," Roberts said, adding that the only thing he said during the encounter before his arrest was that he was thirsty. Sandy provides police services for Estacada, which also has around 2,500 residents.
The grocery store checkout clerk was hospitalized and was expected to survive.
Customers stopped by in a steady stream to drop off balloons as a tribute in front of the store and to sign a giant get-well poster. A small collection of candles also grew on the other side of the parking lot, just in front of yellow police tape that covered nearly an entire block.
Inside Lew's Drive-In, next door to the grocery store, customers talked of nothing but the stabbing and of the clerk, whom everyone seemed to know. Customers who had been in the grocery store during the stabbing took refuge in the diner Sunday, but nobody had seen much, said Marvin Flora, the diner's owner.
"It was traumatic, but it happened so fast that nobody really saw what was going on," he said. "One lady came in this morning and said she actually saw somebody come in with something that was bloody and was carrying something with his arm."