Dismembered in the Bronx

Byrd's body parts were in the trash (courtesy of DNA info/Trevor Kapp)

Byrd’s body parts were in the trash (courtesy of DNA info/Trevor Kapp)

Those of you who are easily offended or have a tendency to get queasy should probably stop reading now.

Police in the Bronx have just arrested 23-year-old Bahsid McLean and his friend William Harris for the murder of 45-year-old Tanya Byrd, a home health aide and mother of three. McLean is Byrd’s son.

According to the latest reports, McLean was upset when his mother told him to grow up, move out and be a man. A diagnosed schizophrenic who spent much of his childhood in psychiatric institutions, McLean reacted in a way more mentally ill people seem to react these days: violently.

In the hours following the argument, McLean and Harris murdered Byrd, put her body in the bathtub, chopped her to pieces, drained her blood, wrapped her body parts in plastic, packed them into luggage and disposed of them throughout their Morrisania neighborhood.

Early the next morning, a man and son out walking their dog stumbled across several bags they thought contained books. Instead, they found Byrd’s dismembered arm and leg. They immediately phoned police, who arrived on the scene a short time later and eventually made their way to Byrd’s home.

Inside the apartment, authorities found gloves and a saw blade that reeked of bleach. They also discovered the box for a new handsaw, but the tool itself was missing. A quick search of the building’s surveillance footage showed McLean and Harris leaving the apartment with several heavy bags, so police had their prime suspect.

McLean was picked up a short time later and charged with his mother’s murder. which he confessed to, as well. Of course, he and Harris are now trying to blame each other for the gruesome killing, but it’s likely both will be prosecuted for the crime.

Tanya Byrd (courtesy of NY Post)

As disturbing as this story is, even more disturbing is the fact that McLean and Harris took pictures of themselves holding Byrd’s decapitated head in front of a mirror. I know McLean is schizophrenic, and I haven’t heard if Harris suffers from any mental disability, but anyone capable of such a heinous act obviously has deeper, more significant problems.

Following the elementary school shooting in Connecticut last year, a lot of attention has been paid to gun control, but only limited attention has been paid to a more important issue: the treatment of mental illness in this country.

How many horrific crimes like these must we experience before we truly do what we must for our mentally disturbed citizens?

Our failure to act means more incidents like these are likely to occur. And I, for one, would rather we took a more responsible approach to dealing with mental illness so everyone in this country wouldn’t just feel safer; they would actually be safer.

Seems like a no-brainer, if you ask me.

Posted on March 2, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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