ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida law enforcement officials are searching for a motive behind the brutal stabbing death of a 56-year-old grandmother -- a crime allegedly committed by her teenage grandson.
St. Petersburg police officers were called around 3:40 a.m. Monday to Gloria Davis' home at 634 60th Ave. South, where they found the longtime U.S. postal worker dead of multiple stab wounds, according to authorities.
Javarick Henderson Jr., 13, of Clearwater, has been charged with second-degree murder. St. Petersburg police Chief Anthony Holloway said Monday that officials with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office would determine if the boy is charged as a juvenile or as an adult.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Javarick made his initial court appearance Tuesday morning. He wore a green T-shirt and black sweatpants, and he had bandages wrapped around his right hand, the newspaper reported.
A woman who identified herself as the teen's mother sat in the front row of the gallery. The Times reported that she burst into tears and left the courtroom during the hearing, in which a judge appointed a public defender to represent Javarick.
The judge also ordered that the teen remain in juvenile detention until Dec. 16, unless he goes before a judge sooner, the Times said.
Another woman accompanying the boy's mother stayed behind to speak to Javarick briefly.
"We love you, baby. We'll be seeing you," the woman told him. She declined to identify herself to the newspaper.
Holloway told reporters Monday that Javarick, who was staying overnight at Davis' home with his 12-year-old half-brother, has never been in trouble before. Both boys are Davis' paternal grandsons.
"Henderson has never been arrested by our agency. There's no record," Holloway said.
Holloway said investigators also contacted the boy's school, identified in court records as Dunedin Highland Middle School, to determine if he's had disciplinary problems.
"This kid, no contact with law enforcement. No issues at school," the chief said.
Nothing in the house was missing and the security alarm was still set when officers arrived.
Holloway said Monday that evidence at the scene and the statement of Javarick's brother led to the murder charge.
"He did not confess," Holloway said. "Again, like I said, we're still trying to figure out exactly what caused this juvenile to kill his grandmother."
Watch Chief Anthony Holloway discuss the homicide below, courtesy of WFLA.
Investigators are combing through the teen's social media profiles and electronic devices for clues. ABC Action News in Tampa reported that Javarick was initially cooperating with detectives, but family members requested an attorney on his behalf.
Javarick's arrest report, which was obtained by the Times, states that the teen's younger brother was asleep in a bedroom early Monday morning when he heard screaming and loud noises coming from the kitchen. The boy, who went to the kitchen to see what was going on, stumbled upon a ghastly scene.
A detective wrote in the report that Javarick was covered in blood and had cuts on his hands and red marks on his body, the Times reported.
He told his brother he "did something bad and not to call 911 … because he needed time to think," the investigator wrote, according to the newspaper.
Either Javarick or his brother did call 911, summoning officers to the home. They found Davis dead on the kitchen floor, the Times reported.
Holloway said the slaying taking place during a holiday week adds another layer of devastation for Davis' loved ones.
"Thanksgiving is three days away from now, so how are they going to deal with that?" the chief said. "The grandmother is dead, the grandson's in custody. That whole family has a lot to deal with during the holidays, and we're going to make sure our victim advocates are out there helping the family and assisting them with whatever they need.
"This is going to affect that family for a long time."
Javarick's father, Javarick Henderson Sr., told WTSP that he is at a loss for words. Davis was his mother.
"I lost two people. I done lost my mama and now my son," Henderson told the news station. "Everybody know my mama was a good lady, a loving lady. Now I gotta deal with my son.
"I want everybody to know he was a good child also. Never got in trouble. No fights, no nothing. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Mequel Mobley, a friend and neighbor of Davis, told the news station Davis loved spending time with her grandchildren.
"She would get them for the weekend, take them ice skating, ride with them, do everything with them," Mobley said. "She just liked to have fun with them."
Davis never mentioned any behavioral problems with either of the boys, Mobley told WTSP. The distraught neighbor spent Monday evening gazing at her friend's driveway, turning over what allegedly happened in her mind.
"I was like, 'No, not her,'" Mobley said. "She keeps you smiling, laughing. She was just wonderful.
"I am going to miss her."
Watch Javarick Henderson Sr. talk about losing his mother, allegedly at the hands of his son.
Davis' co-workers expressed similar sentiments to ABC Action News. They were surprised when she failed to show up for work Monday morning, but were shocked to learn why.
"When we walked in the post office, we could hear her laugh. Her laughter was hearty," co-worker Tabitha McNeil told the ABC affiliate. "If anyone was having a bad day, you could go to her, and she'd make you feel good."
Fellow postal worker Gilda Durant said she had never heard a negative word about Davis, or from Davis herself.
"She never had a bad word to say about anyone and was always smiling," Durant told the news station. "That's why this is so devastating for everyone."
McNeil, who said she's known Davis for more than a decade, agreed.
"This is gut wrenching," McNeil said.
Cox Media Group