Funeral home tip led to manslaughter arrest


When deputies and paramedics were called to the Ellsworth Drive home of 88-year-old Mary Shaw Mathews, in Palm Coast, Sheriff Jim Manfre told Historic City News that no one suspected anything was out of the ordinary. The woman’s primary care physician even told deputies that he would sign the death certificate.

That was until several days later, when an employee of Lohmans Funeral Home in Palm Coast contacted detectives and told them that during a meeting with the woman’s son to discuss funeral arrangements, he broke down and conveyed to them that his mother had asked him to kill her.

According to the incident report and affidavit from February 21, 2014, the son, 62-year-old Richard Guyton Mathews of Palm Coast, was “highly intoxicated” when he appeared at the funeral home. Mathews told the funeral home employees that he first tried to take his mothers’ life by strangling her. He went on to say that he was unable to go through with her request so he gave her a quantity of sleeping pills.

The body, which first responders say had no apparent signs of trauma, was delivered to the 23rd District Medical Examiner’s Office in St Augustine, for an autopsy. The results came back indicating that Mathew’s death was in fact a homicide — by strangulation. Toxicology results showed high levels of several medications present in the woman’s body.

Deputies questioned Mathews and he made several statements to detectives that were consistent with the Medical Examiner’s findings. Mathews was arrested and transported to the Flagler County Detention Facility where he remains in custody, in lieu of $250,000 bond.

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