Investigators have arrested a 34-year-old man suspected of killing his mother inside their Laguna Beach home over the weekend, marking the first homicide in the city in nearly seven years, officials said Monday.
Police were called to the Laguna Terrace Park mobile home community in the 30000 block of South Coast Highway shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday when a friend who was supposed to go to church with Megan Hampton, 61, found her body inside the home, said Laguna Beach police Sgt. Jim Cota.
When authorities arrived, they found evidence of foul play inside the home and launched a homicide investigation, Cota said.
The woman’s son, Matthew McDonald, became a suspect after neighbors told investigators they saw him leave the home quickly that day, backing into a mailbox with his mother’s car before speeding off. The scene was unusual, neighbors told police, because the man had not driven in several months and suffers from a mental disorder, Cota said.
McDonald was stopped by Orange County sheriff’s deputies about an hour later, less than 20 miles south in San Clemente. He had blood on his clothing when he was taken into custody, according to a law enforcement source.
McDonald is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.
A knife believed to be used in the slaying was recovered by police. Authorities have not determined a motive in the killing. However, police have previously responded to the home for domestic disturbance calls involving the son and his mother, Cota said.
Police Chief Laura Farinella told the Laguna Beach Independent that detectives were in the process of obtaining search warrants for the woman’s vehicle and the house. The woman’s cause of death has not been released.
The slaying is the first homicide reported in Laguna Beach, a coastal Orange County community of roughly 23,000 people, since 2012.