EXCLUSIVE: Pat Ward, 66, had arranged an appointment on Friday with a psychiatrist to get medications for her 35-year-old son, Derek. ‘He killed my sister because we couldn’t get the prescriptions he needed. For four days, he didn’t have his meds,’ the Rev. Robert Lubrano told the Daily News. Derek Ward had become increasingly unstable in the days before the attack, Lubrano said.
She was just two days away from getting her psychotic son the medication that might have saved her life. Pat Ward, 66, decapitated in her Farmingdale, L.I., apartment by her mentally ill son, had arranged a Friday appointment with a psychiatrist to get him back on his meds, the Daily News has learned.Derek Ward, 35, who butchered his mother Tuesday night before taking his own life by jumping in front of a train, was a “sick, sick kid,” according to his uncle.
“He killed my sister because we couldn’t get the prescriptions he needed. For four days, he didn’t have his meds,” said the Rev. Robert Lubrano.
“She’s dead because he had a mental illness, and we didn’t know how serious it was. We’re in terrible shock. She was a wonderful person.”
Lubrano, also of Farmingdale, described his sister as a gentle, loving mother who tried valiantly to care for her family.
Derek Ward had battled psychiatric problems for the past decade, but he had never been violent, Lubrano said.
“He never raised his hand to her before this. Never had a gun. This is all about mental illness and the difficulty of getting a psychiatrist,” he said. After Derek Ward killed his mother and cut off her head, he sat with her headless corpse for several minutes inside their gore-spattered apartment, cops said. Then he dragged her mutilated remains down the stairs to the street. He left her corpse there and walked to the nearby Long Island Rail Road station and committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train. “She had an appointment set up for (Friday). She finally met a compassionate psychiatrist, but she’ll never make it to see him,” Lubrano sobbed.
Derek Ward was too old to be covered by his mother’s insurance, and they struggled to find a doctor who would accept Medicaid. Lubrano said he only found out his nephew had been off his meds when it was too late. “(My sister) was paying $200 for a 20-minute visit. She did everything to keep Derek alive,” he said. In the days before the horrific attack, Derek Ward grew increasingly unstable, he said. By Monday night, the family was urging the mother to call police. “(Pat) dropped a fork Monday while making dinner, and he got mad at her. He said the noise hurt his head. She was begging him to go to the emergency room, but he wouldn’t,” the brother said. “We tried to convince her to go to police, but she was terrified of the police. She thought they might hurt him.”
Derek Ward did six weeks in a Long Island psych hospital in August 2013, after his maternal grandfather died, said Lubrano. He started complaining of hearing voices that same night, the reverend said.But he’d never lifted a finger against his mother, and nobody considered him a violent threat.
“We never got a real diagnosis. We thought it was schizophrenia or depression,” Lubrano said.
When he couldn’t get his sister on the phone Tuesday night, Lubrano got in his car and drove to their Farmingdale apartment.As he got closer and saw all the streets blocked off, he told himself there must have been a gas leak nearby. When he saw a police officer, Lubrano said he needed to visit his sister.“He said, ‘Apt. G?’ I said, ‘How did you know?’ ” Lubrano recounted painfully.
“He said ‘Father, I don’t know how to tell you, but her son killed her.’”
Lubrano was stunned and heartbroken — and unable to believe his nephew had done what they said he did.
“I thought I was in a horror movie. Cut her head off? To do what he did to the woman he loved the most in this world, his mommy? Her whole life, she was there for him. She did the best she could,” he said.Ward’s other son, Robert Ward, had died of a heroin overdose in 1997. She and her husband, John Ward, 63, were divorced, relatives said.That left just Ward and Derek to care for each other, according to Lubrano.
“My nephew was not a bad person, (just) a sick person. He had ADD and was dyslexic. She taught him how to read, then he became an avid reader, went back to school,” the grieving uncle cried. “He was a really good kid. Whatever happened after my father died, it broke him.”
A wake for Ward is planned for Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. at McCourt & Trudden funeral home in Farmingdale.
The funeral is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. in St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church on Conklin on Tuesday.