A Tennessee man is accused of killing his elderly mother because she was “driving him crazy” and then trying to flee to Amsterdam.
John Ralph, 51, was arrested Saturday at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, Georgia less than an hour before he was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam for the murder of his 75-year-old mother, Edith Betty Ralph, according to local outlet Johnson City Press.
The elderly woman’s body was discovered in the home she shared with her grown son by a caregiver on Saturday.
She had suffered severe head trauma and had been shot several times, according to a statement from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.
According to deputies, Ralph had made “numerous statements” to friends and family that his mother was “driving him crazy” before she was found dead in her home.
The night she was killed, Ralph also allegedly asked his coworkers to take pictures of him at work, telling them that he needed the photos because “if anything happened to his mother he would need an alibi,” the statement said.
After the body was discovered, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began to search for Ralph, who quickly became the prime suspect in the slaying.
They reportedly discovered Ralph had purchased a ticket for Amsterdam that departed at 10:20 p.m. that night out of Atlanta, almost 300 miles from his Tennessee home, according to Johnson City Press.
Sheriff Dexter Lunceford told the local paper that they quickly contacted the U.S. Marshall’s Office, which was able to arrest Ralph at 9:45 p.m., just before his flight was scheduled to take off.
Lunceford praised investigators for their swift actions saying they “quickly found evidence that led to suspect John Ralph.”
Ralph has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million bond at the Clayton County Jail.
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