Matthew Edward Lohoski remains in the Pinellas County jail after - according to authorities - walking into the sheriff's office Monday night and telling authorities he killed his mother.
Clearwater police found the body of 59-year-old Deborah Lahoski in the backyard of the family's home on the 1700 block of El Trinidad Drive E. Police said Deborah Lohoski suffered from severe upper body trauma.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lohoski attacked his mother from behind, placing her in a choke hold until she was unconscious. Officials said he then used a box cutter to cut her throat and armpit area in an attempt to sever an artery.
Lohoski then retrieved a zip tie that he used to choke her before the tie broke, according to officials. With his mother still alive, officials said Lohoski then went into a backyard shed to get a sledge hammer, which he used to strike his mother in the head three times, killing her.
Investigators are trying to determine what sparked the incident between Matthew Lohoski, 33, and his mother. Matthew Lohoski faces first-degree murder charges.
Matthew Lohoski has a 7-year-old daughter who lives at the home. Deputies said the child was in another room at the time of the murder. Lohoski dropped her off at a friend's house before turning himself in to authorities.
Shocked neighbors said they did not know the family well but never noticed any problems at the home.
"You never want to wish that on anyone," said Gerald Frey, who lives in the neighborhood. "It's a bad thing. This is a quiet neighborhood. We aren't used to all this commotion, so it's scary."
Neighbors said Deborah Lahoski was helping raise her son’s daughter.
“Debbie, his mom, she was a nice lady. She loved his granddaughter, was raising her granddaughter. And she didn’t deserve to die,” said a neighbor named Heddy, who declined to give her last name. “But something must have happened and he just snapped because this is just not Matt.”
She said Matthew Lohoski shared with her his battle with alcohol abuse and she wonders if he was in his right mind during the crime.
“There was animosity there because of his drinking, and um…she had enough of it, it was causing problems,” she said.
But she never thought it would come to this.
Family members from out of state were inside the home Tuesday afternoon. They declined to talk on camera, but said they were there to help the family during this troubling time.
According to DCF, they have opened an investigation into Matthew Lahoski. The little girl is in state custody right now. Her mother lives out of state.
A hearing is expected to take place next week to determine where the child will be placed.