Garrett Behlau Chattanooga, Tennessee autistic teen strangles his mother, Theresa, to death. Murder was witnessed by father on home surveillance video.
A 19-year-old Tennessee man afflicted with autism was arrested Wednesday after his father called Chattanooga police upon watching home security footage in which he witnessed his teen son strangling his mother to death.
Garrett Behlau, 19, was observed strangling his mother, Theresa Behlau, ‘until she was lifeless,’ according to Hamilton County court records.
According to a release, Chattanooga police were called to a home in the Waterhaven subdivision located along South Chickamauga Creek, circa 2.30pm.
The caller told police he was about eight hours out of town but had just reviewed home security footage where he saw his son, Garrett, strangle his mother to death. The man who identified himself as the father of the 19 year old teen, said he then saw Garrett drag his 54-year-old mother’s body out of the camera’s view reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
When police arrived at the home, they found Garrett Behlau sitting on the floor in his bedroom, according to court records.
But neighbors tell me the son is not a criminal. They say he lives with autism. The entire neighborhood is heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/SX8Kaes6b2
— Kiley Thomas (@KileyThomasNews) August 20, 2020
Afflicted with autism
They asked him where his mother was, and he told them ‘in the woods,’ police wrote in the criminal affidavit.
Police then searched the woods. There they found Theresa Behlau’s lifeless body, her head covered in Saran wrap.
The father sent investigators the videos of the incident. The videos corroborated what he told police upon calling for help, authorities said.
Homicide investigators said, the videos showed the son attempting to clean up the crime scene with paper towels.
Garrett Behlau was taken into custody shortly thereafter. He is charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
‘It’s hard to think about because they tried everything they could to help their son and it didn’t work and it’s partly because the mental health system in this country is awful. It’s awful,’ said neighbor Lissa Dearing.
Garrett Behlau now faces several charges, including criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Garrett’s bond has since been set to $300,000, and his first court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 25.
Chattanooga police ask anyone with information about the crime to call the homicide tip line at 423-643-5100 or to submit a tip through the department’s mobile app. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
No known motive was disclosed.