A Babylon man fatally stabbed his mother and severely wounded his sister before fleeing into nearby woods Friday morning, Suffolk County police said.
Joseph Kearns, 33, was arrested a short time later in Southards Pond Park, a few blocks from the Livingston Avenue home where he stabbed his mother, Mina, 79, and sister, Kathleen, 59, police said. All three lived in the home.
Joseph is scheduled to be arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Central Islip on charges of second-degree murder and assault in the first degree, Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Homicide Squad, said.
Several neighbors said Joseph was one of two young brothers adopted by the Kearns family more than 30 years ago. The neighbors, asking not to be identified, said the family had nine children of their own and had adopted other children over the years.
A Newsday death notice in April 2000 for Joseph Kearns, the father, said the couple had 12 children. Police said it was their understanding that Joseph Kearns, the son, was adopted, but said they had no other details.
A family member reached Friday declined to comment.
Beyrer said police had responded to a call about 7:20 a.m. Friday from Kathleen Kearns, "who stated that her brother had stabbed her and possibly killed the mother, their mother."
Mina Kearns and Kathleen Kearns were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Bay Shore, where Mina Kearns was pronounced dead, Beyrer said. Her daughter had "severe injuries to her head and face" but was expected to live, he said.
Joseph Kearns was treated at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for hand wounds and then released to police.
Beyrer said police had first been called to the home at 4:30 p.m. Thursday about some kind of dispute involving Joseph Kearns and his mother. Officers searched the area but could not find the son.
Later on Thursday, Beyrer said, Joseph Kearns was reported to be in Lindenhurst, but police again were unable to find him.
"At the time he was not wanted for anything. It was just to check on his condition," Beyrer said. He said there were no threats or violence involved in Thursday's incident. "There was some issue with whether Joseph was taking his medication," Beyrer said. He said he did not know why the man was taking medication.
He said he did not know when the son re-entered the home.
Beyrer did not provide other details about the dispute or give a motive for the stabbings.
Neighbors said that Mina Kearns was a daily churchgoer, attending St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church on North Carll Avenue.
With Gary Dymski
and Chau Lam