A 57-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with strangling to death her elderly mother with a vacuum cleaner cord at their Central Islip home Tuesday morning, Suffolk police said.
Sharon Easter called 911 at 8:09 a.m. and told the dispatcher in a "matter-of-fact" tone that she killed her mother, said Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Suffolk Police Homicide Squad.
When Third Precinct patrol officers responded to the Cocoanut Street home the two shared, they found Dorothy Easter, 76, dead with “strangulation wounds," police said.
Sharon Easter, who investigators believe has "some mental health issues," had apparently been upset at the very recent death of her father and used the vacuum cleaner cord to kill her mother, Beyrer said.
"Apparently she was upset about the father dying and for some reason she strangled her mother," said Beyrer. "The father died of natural causes, however she might have irrationally believed that the mother contributed to his death. However, it was natural causes."
Family members told investigators that Sharon Easter, who is unemployed, has mental health problems, Beyrer said, adding that detectives are "trying to verify exactly what her issues were and if she was treating them." Beyrer said Sharon Easter was not a caretaker for her mother, who he said was "otherwise in good health for her age."
There were no signs of previous abuse of Dorothy Easter at the hands of her daughter, Beyrer said. But police had been called to their home several times in recent years for reports of "verbal arguments" between family members, including the mother and daughter, Beyrer said.
"She had her mental issues which would flare up every now and then but never to the point of violence," Beyrer said, adding that Sharon Easter gave no explanation for her actions.
Sharon Easter has been charged with second-degree murder and will be held overnight at the Fourth Precinct. Her arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip is scheduled for Wednesday.
An attorney for Easter could not immediately be reached for comment.