Mother left ‘unrecognizable’ after son beat her to death, police say

Community members have set up a memorial for Michelle McPeek near one of the entrances to Upena...
Community members have set up a memorial for Michelle McPeek near one of the entrances to Upena Street in Makaha.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 9:28 AM AKDT
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) - Police in Hawaii arrested a 19-year-old man accused of beating his mother to the point of her being “unrecognizable.”

Honolulu police say Joshua McPeek punched and stomped on his 38-year-old mother, Michelle McPeek, in the middle of a highway after an argument on April 20, according to Hawaii News Now.

Court documents say the woman was found by police, lying lifeless on her back with her face completely smashed in. They said she was unrecognizable because of her injuries.

An officer said Joshua McPeek was located a short time later, about a mile from the crime scene, near Makaha Beach Park. Police said his hands and face were covered in blood.

Defense attorney Victor Bakke said it appeared the teen may have been suffering from a serious mental illness, drug addiction or both.

“Nobody just assaults somebody else like that and especially your mother,” he said.

The attorney added that intoxication is not a defense.

“But sometimes with long-term drug use you’ll see that it causes a brain injury so that the person actually becomes brain damaged so to speak,” Bakke said.

Makaha community organized vigil for mother who was allegedly beaten to death by her teenage son.

It’s still unknown what led up to the argument between Joshua McPeek and his mother.

However, witnesses did report seeing a second woman during the attack, crying and running up and down the road, but she vanished a short time later.

Authorities said there was a brief struggle before the teen was detained.

McPeek is charged with murder, and his bail remains at $1 million.

A vigil for Michelle McPeek was held on Monday, with a group of people meeting at a park and then releasing flowers into the ocean.

Kuulei Lincoln, who had known Michelle McPeek for 15 years, said she was a mom of seven.

“She was a very lovely person,” said Lincoln. “She loved her kids, she did everything for her kids.”

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