SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Police went to Chad Moretz's home to ask him about a friend who had gone missing and found themselves in a tense standoff when a relative answered the door and whispered: "He's got a rifle. He's going to kill y'all."
It was at least the fourth time in 18 months deputies had gone to see Moretz. Neighbors and relatives had accused him of chasing his wife with a machete, threatening to kill a man with a handgun and stabbing a dog with a pocket knife. But none of that prepared investigators for what they found Jan. 11 after Moretz walked onto his front porch with an assault rifle and was killed by a SWAT team sniper.
In the home, amid filth and roaches and foul odors, police found the missing man's severed head and two hands hidden behind a kitchen cabinet in a hole in the wall. The rest of the body, dismembered with a power saw and wrapped in bags, was discovered in a storage locker a half-hour away in South Carolina.
Kevin Lambert, Moretz's brother-in-law, had met detectives at the door and whispered the warning. "He said, 'Chad's in here, he's got a rifle, he's going to kill y'all,' " said David Ehsanipoor of the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.
"I don't believe there was a motive," said Ehsanipoor. "Chad was just crazy."
Medical examiners confirmed the body was that of Charlie Ray, 35, a friend of Moretz. His family had been searching for him since New Year's Eve.
An autopsy showed Ray was stabbed more than 40 times and had been dead more than a week. Moretz's wife told investigators her husband and Ray had been drinking and talking, and started arguing. She said Moretz grabbed a knife and repeatedly stabbed Ray in their kitchen, Ehsanipoor said. Investigators suspect Ray's body was dismembered to make it easier to hide.
Moretz lived about 20 miles from where Ray lived with his parents. He had moved there from southwest Florida, where violence devastated his own family a year and a half ago. His father, Jeffrey Moretz, 55, is to stand trial in April for the fatal shooting of his estranged wife, Christine Moretz, Chad Moretz's mother, July 5, 2011, in Naples, Fla.
Jeffrey Moretz then shot himself, but survived. Court records show he filed for divorce two weeks before his wife's slaying.
Though investigators say they believe Moretz alone killed Ray, his wife and brother-in-law have been charged with helping conceal the death. Kimberly Moretz did not immediately return a message left at a phone number listed for her on a police report. Lambert did not have a listed phone number.