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Tennessee Mother Accused of Strangling 12-Year-Old Son to Death, Attempting to Kill 4-Year-Old Child

tennessee mother accused killing  year old son trying to kill  year old child
Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Shelbyville Police Department

Jul. 23 2023, Published 4:05 p.m. ET

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A Tennessee mother has been arrested in connection with the strangling death of her 12-year-old son and the attempted murder of her 4-year-old child, officials said.

Around 9:50 p.m. on July 17, a father found his 12-year-old son unresponsive at their home in Shelbyville and called 911, according to the Shelbyville Police Department.

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Police wanted to speak with the boy’s mother, 32-year-old Patricia Sylvester, and his 4-year-old brother, Rafael Sylvester, but they could not be found at the time, authorities said.

An Endangered Child Alert was issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for the mother and Rafael.

Around 8 a.m. on July 18, police said the mother returned to her family home. She was escorted to the police station for questioning.

While talking with police, Patricia allegedly admitted to the “intentional” killing of her 12-year-old son, Esteban Sylvester, and the attempted killing of Rafael, according to authorities.

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Rafael was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation, according to police.

At a press conference, officials said they believe Patricia strangled Esteban to death on July 17 and then tried to conceal the crime before fleeing the home with Rafael.

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Investigators said they also found evidence on Rafael’s body consistent with what Patricia said during the interview.

The mother was arrested and charged with one count of criminal homicide and one count of attempted criminal homicide, officials said.

The children’s father has been fully cooperative throughout the investigation and he isn’t considered a suspect at this time, police said.


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