An Oregon man is accused of decapitating his mother at their home on Mother’s Day, then going to a nearby supermarket, where witnesses described him walking in with an 8-inch knife in one hand and a severed human head in the other hand.
Investigators confirmed that Joshua Lee Webb was holding his mother’s head when he went into Estacada’s only grocery store.
One of Webb’s sisters who was visiting for the holiday discovered their mother’s headless body on the floor of the home, two neighbors said. The distraught sister came to their house to ask them to call police, they said.
She was crying and in shock and told them that she also had found her brother’s dog dead on the kitchen counter.
“This is just a nightmare,” one of the neighbors said. “It’s something you wouldn’t imagine someone would do.” The two neighbors live within a few houses of the Webbs, but didn’t give their names, saying they wanted to let the family know first that they had talked to a reporter.
Webb’s father, David Webb, wasn’t home at the time his wife was killed, they said.
“My wife was wonderful,” David Webb said Monday in a brief phone interview before he was overcome by emotion. “I’ve been married to her for almost 41 years. Joshua was our son. I never saw a problem. Evidently there was one. I don’t know. I start crying every time I think about it.”
Joshua Webb, 36, apparently went from Colton, where he lived in a pole barn on his parents’ rural property and did odd jobs around the neighborhood, to the Harvest Market.
Employees there described a surreal scene on what had been until then a quiet afternoon in the town of 2,700 about 30 miles southeast of Portland. A 911 call came in at 2:14 p.m. from the store, police said.
A customer first saw a man, later identified as Webb, covered in blood, screamed and ran out of the store in downtown Estacada, said Ashlie Crombie, 25, who has worked there for about three years. Crombie wasn’t working Sunday but started to get calls and texts from friends and family asking if she was safe. Co-workers soon told her what happened, she said.
The customer’s screams alerted other people in the store, Crombie said as she stood outside the market, which remained closed It wasn’t clear how many people at the time were in the Thriftway, which has about 30 employees, she said.
The man ran to the back of the store, where he encountered clerk Michael Wagner, Crombie said, and told him: “You better run.”
The man stabbed Wagner up to seven times, but Wagner, 64, was able to chase after the suspect and tackle him. Other employees kicked and beat the man, wrested the knife away from him, then taped his hands and feet until police arrived, Crombie said.
Joshua Webb was booked into the Clackamas County Jail on allegations of murder and attempted murder. He has no history of violent crime in Oregon. Court records show only a conviction for unlawful use of metal objects on tires in June 2000.