Man charged in mother's death dies in New Bedford jail

Editor's Note: This story contains descriptions of violence that some readers may find upsetting.

A Cape Cod man accused of murdering his mother and setting her body on fire died in a New Bedford jail.

Adam Howe, 34,  was arrested Friday night after police responded to a report of a fire at his mother's Truro home.

The Cape and Island's District Attorney's Office said when police arrived, Howe was near a fire on the front lawn of the home. When emergency crews realized that a body was burning in the fire, the DA's office said, Howe ran into the home and locked the door.

The Cape Cod Regional SWAT Team later took him into custody and charged him with the murder of his mother, 69-year-old Susan Howe.

After his arrest, Howe was taken to Cape Cod Hospital because he was having trouble breathing. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe asked that Howe be committed for a mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital, but said Bridgewater would not accept Howe as part of what's known as a Section 12 mental health commitment.

Howe was then taken from the hospital to the Ash Street jail. Police reports indicate that he was suicidal.

He was found unresponsive in his jail cell late Sunday afternoon and was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, where he was pronounced dead. State police are investigating and the cause of death has not been determined.

This is a developing story. We will continue to update as information becomes available. 

Resources: You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Samaritans Statewide Hotline (call or text) at 1-877-870-HOPE (4673). Call2Talk can be accessed by calling Massachusetts 211 or 508-532-2255 (or text c2t to 741741).

This article was originally published on October 03, 2022.

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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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