News & Politics

Cops Suspect Disabled Long Island Man Was Brutally Murdered By Own Mother; Mom Lived With Body For Days

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A 22-year-old Long Island man with cerebral palsy was brutally murdered last week, and now his own mother is charged in his death.

And here’s where things get a little weird/reverse-“Psycho”-y: cops say that after 52-year-old Tracy Zetsche beat her son with a hammer and stabbed him to death, she lived with his dead body in her house for about five days.

The body of Gabriel Philby-Zetsche was found in the Westerlo home owned by his mother on Monday morning after his aunt — who lives down the street — stopped by to check on Zetsche, who she saw sitting on the porch wrapped in a blanket, looking “distraught,” the Albany County Sheriff’s Office says.

The aunt, who is not identified, then entered the home, where she found the body.

Philby-Zetsche had been stabbed repeatedly in the heart. He also
suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, which authorities say is the
result of his mother bashing him in the skull with a hammer.

“This was an extremely violent attack,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said at a press conference yesterday.

Zetsche and her son moved from Commack, Long Island, to Westerlo — just South of Albany — in October.

According to local media reports, the mother and son were close, and had
a good relationship, which makes the brutal murder even more bizarre.

From the Albany Times Union:

Philby-Zetsche’s right arm was deformed and he sometimes suffered
minor seizures and may have had a minor case of cerebral palsy, but he
lived a normal life and was very close with his mother, Apple said. He
often joined his mother at a cleaning job she held, he said.

“They seemed like they were a pair,” said Peter Rufa, who co-owns the building they both lived in. “They were real close. She never went anywhere without him.”

The Philby family released the following statement about the bizarre murder:

“As you can imagine, the death of my nephew Gabe and the injuries to
my sister Tracy have turned our world upside-down. Nothing can prepare anyone for the shock our family has received. My sister and nephew mean the world to me and my family.

“At
this moment, sheriff’s investigators are still trying to determine
exactly what occurred. I believe it is best to let law enforcement
professionals do their jobs and not comment further. On behalf of the
entire Philby family, we thank you for respecting our privacy at this
very painful time.”

Zetsche was booked into jail on one count of second-degree murder.

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