Richland Hills, TX – The grandfather of an eight-year-old boy has been arrested on a capital murder charge for allegedly stabbing the little boy in his chest and neck on New Year’s Day.
The Richland Hills Police Department (RHPD) responded to a residence on Labadie Drive after receiving a 911 call at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, FOX News reported.
The call was placed by one of the victim’s parents, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“Upon arrival, officers made entry to the residence and located what we now know to be a deceased eight-year-old male,” RHPD Officer Sheena McEachran said, according to FOX News. “There was a weapon, edged blade weapon involved in this incident and that weapon has been recovered.”
The victim, eight-year-old Brenym McDonald, was found inside a bedroom in the home, KDFW reported.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner determined Brenym’s death was caused by sharp force injuries to his chest and neck.
Police arrested the boy’s grandfather, 62-year-old Phillip Hughes, on a capital murder charge in connection with his death, KDFW reported.
Police found Hughes walking a few blocks away from the residence, according to FOX News.
He was booked into the joint detention center at the North Richland Hills Police Department, where he is being held on $2 million bond.
Hughes was previously convicted of a driving while intoxicated offense.
Brenym’s great-grandmother, Linda Hubbard, told FOX News on Monday that Brenym and his parents had temporarily been residing with Hughes when the child was murdered.
“They were staying here with the grandfather until they could get him another place to live,” Hubbard said. “They kind of stayed away from him. I can’t say much about that.”
Investigators said Hughes was not alone at the house with Brenym when the murder occurred, The Dallas Morning News reported.
No motive for the attack has been released.
One of Hughes’ anonymous neighbors told WFAA that Hughes and Brenym seemed to have a close, loving relationship.
“I never would have imagined this happening,” the neighbor said. “They would be outside in the driveway drawing pictures with chalk…just in love with each other. They truly were, the child was Phil’s pride and joy.”
The neighbor said Hughes is a U.S. Army veteran and that he has had “issues going back a long way,” WFAA reported.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” the neighbor concluded. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Child Protective Services has opened an investigation into Brenym’s murder, but said they have not worked with the family in the past, KDFW reported.
“We have lots of questions, just like everyone else has. And throughout the investigation we’ll hopefully be able to answer all the questions and why this tragedy occurred,” Officer McEachran said, according to FOX News. “There’s not a lot of words right now to describe a lot of the feelings involved, but we are doing everything we can to investigate this fully and making sure we bring justice for the family.”
RHPD Chief Kimberly Sylvester said detectives hope to send the case to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office by the end of the week, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“There is true evil in this world, and our community has experienced this with Brenym’s death,” Chief Sylvester said.
Hubbard said she just saw her great-grandson on Thanksgiving, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
She said he was “just a normal eight-year-old boy, full of life.”
“He liked to cook, which we were excited about,” Hubbard added. “My daughter had ordered him a chef’s hat with his name on it and an apron. He brought that with him so he could help in the kitchen. He just had fun.”
A fundraising campaign established to help pay for Brenym’s funeral services has raised more than $14,000 so far.