The sister of a nine-year-old Michigan boy accused of shooting dead his adoptive mother says he was probably trying to scare Pauline Randol, 51.
Reagan Martin, 23, believes the boy – who has not been identified because he is underage – was likely attempting to frighten her biological mother, Pauline Randol, when he fatally injured her with a rifle in their living room on Monday morning.
‘I don’t think he meant to do it. I think was probably a scare tactic,’ she told
The boy was charged Wednesday with the woman’s murder but his sisters, who are Randol’s children from a previous relationship, have said he suffers from mental health issues.
It was one of the reasons he was kept home from school Monday, days before Randol’s death.
Martin said the boy, who her mother adopted from Indiana three years ago, switched medications in the past two weeks and his behavioral problems worsened, causing him to start ‘hitting, kicking and throwing stuff’.
Sister of boy accused of murder thinks he was using ‘a scare tactic’ when he fatally injured his adoptive mother. Pauline Randol, 51, was found dead early Monday morning
Pauline Randol, 51, was found dead at her home on Fawn River Township having suffered a fatal gunshot wound
‘My mom would not want him to be labeled a murderer,’ Martin said. ‘Her whole world revolved around him.’
Martin thinks the boy suddenly ‘snapped’ at his home in Fawn River Township. Just a day before he wasn’t a concern to her.
She continued: ‘He was playing with my kids. He was happy. My mom was happy.’
But Martin doesn’t know how they boy got his hands on a rifle they used for hunting as they are usually locked away.
Martin said the boy’s biological mother was drug addict and he had a number of mental ‘scars’ from his childhood.
‘I’m angry, don’t get me wrong. But he’s my little brother and he needs help. I hope he gets it,’ she added.
He now faces murder and firearm charges, though it’s unclear whether he’ll be prosecuted as an adult or juvenile.
Randol’s daughter Reagan Martin thinks he didn’t mean to do it and said her mother (pictured) ‘would not want him to be labeled a murderer’
Pauline and the boy were scheduled to meet with a mental health professional the day after she was found dead, as family members say she was growing increasingly concerned about the boy’s mental state.
Another of her daughters, Harley Martin, revealed that Randol had ‘told her doctor one time she was so scared she was raising the next serial killer’.
Harley, however, was adamant that the boy was not a ‘bad kid’ and said ‘this was not something he would have just done to be spiteful, to be mean’.
‘He loved his mom. I don’t want people to think he did not love his mom,’ she told
‘He had lost of mental health issues that were not being helped. He started on [new] medication last week. Who knows how that reacted?’
WWMT-TV reports that Congress Elementary School in Sturgis contacted the mother of a girl who the juvenile had a chilling message for last year
Harley said her mother was aware of the boy’s mental health issues and troubled upbringing before she adopted him in February 2016.
‘But she took him in to care for him as her own,’ Harley told the
In court Tuesday, the boy asked where his mother was and Harley said ‘he doesn’t know what he did’.
‘He doesn’t understand why he can’t come home or anything,’ she continued. ‘He’s traumatized by what he saw in there. That’s all he told my dad about was seeing that. It’s going to mess him up for a really long time because he does not realize what he’s done.’
A neighbor told
‘He told her that he wanted to get a knife and stab her and watch her die, and watch her mother cry,’ Alecia Pieronski recalled of a conversation between the suspect and her daughter in February 2018.
‘My want was to remove him from the school and protect the children. I do feel in my whole heart the teachers and principals did everything they could do.’
The circumstances of the killing and details of why the child is considered a suspect have not been released. It’s not clear how many times Pauline was shot.
Reagan Martin said her mother tried to reach out to various mental health services in St. Joseph County but their family’s insurance wouldn’t cover the medical costs.
‘She eventually got an appointment where she had to spend money out [of her] pocket, but that was supposed to be for Tuesday, and it was too late,’ she shared. ‘My mother’s death lays in the hands of people failing to educate in mental issues and failing to listen when helped is being begged for.’
In a Facebook post Randol cryptically spoke about a child that was ‘missing skills’ and said she needed ‘support and understanding’
Sheriff Bradley Balk says the youth was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a state-run juvenile facility on Tuesday.
Police were carrying out forensics interviews to determine the child’s state of mind.
‘Maybe this a wake-up call to other schools when you have that troubled child screaming for help to do something,’ Pieronski added.
In a Facebook post Randol cryptically spoke about a child that was ‘missing skills’ and said she needed ‘support and understanding’.
Sturgis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Arthur Ebert said in a statement: ‘Our community has experienced a tragic event. As a district it is our goal to provide support to our students, staff, and the community.
‘We are limited in what we can share due to privacy laws and the sensitive nature of this tragedy. The St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation regarding this event that occurred outside of school, including the release of information about the investigation.’
A neighbor said they weren’t surprised to hear the boy had been arrested.
‘My wife and I both, when we heard that the woman was shot, we both looked at each other and said ‘I bet it was him’,’ Joseph Lancaster told
‘It’s just crazy, scary. You know, he could have shot anybody around here.’