NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — Arrest warrants allege that a man beat his autistic teenage brother to death at a home in Hermitage while their mother watched and did nothing to stop it.
Rebecca Greenwood, 52, and David Matheny, 33, were arrested and booked into the Davidson County Jail Saturday morning on charges of criminal homicide.
Metro Police said Greenwood called 911 just before noon Friday to report finding her 14-year-old son, Sayeed Neilson, dead at their home on Topeka Drive in Hermitage.
Neighbor Kevin Davis says he’s heartbroken the teen was dead.
“Sayeed never bothered anyone. But the son, David — David was very aggressive. Very abusive even to this friends. Plenty of times, even at night time, he would be yelling at his friends. We would open our doors and come out,” Davis said.
An arrest warrant states Greenwood claimed Sayeed, who had autism, had fallen in the shower the day before and hit his head. She said she and Matheny, her son, checked on the boy multiple times that day, then went to a bar for drinks and checked on him again before going to bed that night, according to the paperwork.
Greenwood explained she and Matheny went to the grocery store the next day to buy cleaning supplies and get fast food, police said. She stated they cleaned the residence, then went to check on Sayeed, who they found unconscious, prompting Greenwood to call 911.
Sayeed was pronounced dead at the home. Upon further investigation, police determined the teenager’s injuries were not entirely consistent with a fall.
Detectives questioned Greenwood, who they said admitted she had watched as Matheny punched the teenager and “stomped on his head” during an altercation. She explained she told Matheny to stop, but walked away without making sure the attack had ended, according to police.
Officers added the mother and son cleaned the home to get rid of evidence of the attack, so they were each charged with one count of evidence tampering.
“He was very respectful and this really hurts everyone in this neighborhood. From here to here. We cried. That little boy didn’t bother anyone. He was very intelligent. He was an autistic child. But very humble and respectful,” Davis said.
Greenwood was also charged with child neglect, while Matheny was charged with child abuse. No bond was set for either suspect on the criminal homicide charges.
Neighbors are planning a vigil for Sayeed early next week.