CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Clayton Police have arrested a 57-year-old woman they say murdered her adult son on Christmas.

Elizabeth Wilkins Yarborough is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old James Benjamin Yarborough Jr. on Dec. 25, 2017, authorities say.

Elizabeth Yarborough called 911 and told dispatchers she needed help for her son at her home at Riverwood Haven senior apartments, officials said.

“When Clayton Police officers arrived, they found her son lying just inside the apartment with a single gunshot wound to his head,” town officials said in a news release. “Yarborough initially told officers that her son had shot himself with his own gun and his death was a suicide.”

But a remark she made about an hour after officers arrived changed the way police thought about the crime, Clayton Police Chief Blair Myhand said.

“She made a spontaneous utterance to one of the officers there that … she thought she may have fired the gun,” he said.

It’s not clear what preceded the shooting. Myhand said Yarborough’s son came over Christmas Eve and stayed the night with her. It was his gun that was used in the shooting, Myhand said. He added the gun had been placed on the counter at some point before Elizabeth Yarborough picked up.

Chief Myhand said Elizabeth Yarborough had “a history of, kind of, erratic behavior on her part that led us to believe that this was an intentional death.”

He went on to say, “Things going on in her life, the death of her husband, a lot of these compounding factors, I think, have led to her mental status today.”

Residents at the apartment building said Yarborough had recently moved there. They recalled seeing her son come by often to help her.

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