78-year-old woman celebrating birthday found dead, Florida cops say. Son charged

A man is accused of shooting and killing his 78-year-old mother as she was celebrating her birthday in their Florida home, a sheriff’s office said.

On Feb. 20, a woman called her mother’s neighbor to see if they could check on her mom, Joanne Turrell, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, WTVT reported.

The neighbor went inside Turrell’s house and found her dead, the sheriff’s office told the outlet.

Deputies arrived at the house shortly after, around 7 p.m., and saw Turrell had been shot and then covered with a blanket, according to a Feb. 21 news release.

When deputies searched the home, they found a bedroom door locked, the sheriff’s office said.

Inside was Douglas Turrell, Joanne’s 53-year-old son who lived with her in Odessa, deputies said.

Douglas Turrell had a gun with him but was taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

He is charged with second-degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office, but a possible motive was not released.

“Our heart breaks for the friends and family of this woman whose life was not only tragically ended but done so at the hands of her son,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the release. “Joanne Turrell was celebrating her 78th birthday. A time that should have been filled with joy and beautiful memories. Instead, we are now trying to piece together what resulted in it ending in such heartbreak.”

The sheriff’s office said the investigation was ongoing.

Odessa is about 25 miles north of Tampa.

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