Boy, 9, charged with killing mother has mental 'scars,' sister says

Detroit News staff and wire reports
In this Monday, May 6, 2019 photo, St. Joseph County Sheriff deputies stand outside the site where a woman was fatally shot in Fawn River Township, Mich. Authorities say a 9-year-old is suspected in the shooting of a woman in her southern Michigan home.

Fawn River Township — The mother wanted to get her adoptive son help, knowing he had "scars" from his childhood.

According to the 9-year-old boy's family, she had booked an appointment for Tuesday after struggling to get him mental health care for some time. But early Monday, Pauline Marie Randol, 51, was found dead after being shot with a rifle in their southern Michigan home. 

Her son, whom The Detroit News is not identifying, became the suspect. And on Wednesday, court records indicated he was charged with her murder.

The boy was also charged with using a firearm during the commission of a felony. But it isn’t clear if he was charged as an adult or a juvenile. Authorities have not released the circumstances of the killing or details of why the child was charged.

Pauline Randol was fatally shot Monday inside her Fawn River Township home, police said.

The boy was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a state-run juvenile facility, according to county Sheriff Bradley Balk. Fawn River Township is east of Sturgis on Michigan's border with Indiana.

Randol's 23-year-old daughter, Reagan Martin, told The Detroit News on Wednesday that if her mother received the help she sought, she would still be alive.

Martin said her mother adopted her 9-year-old brother knowing he had a rough upbringing.

"But she took him in to care for him as her own," said Martin through a social media conversation. "She had been trying to reach out for help by his family doctor ... who blamed her for (these) issues."

The daughter said her mother tried to reach out to Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County in Centreville, but their father's insurance didn't cover the appointments. 

"She eventually got an appointment where she had to spend money out (of her) pocket, but that was supposed to be for Tuesday, and it was too late," Martin said. 

"My mother('s) death lays in the hands of people failing to educate in mental issues and failing to listen when helped is being begged for."

Martin called her adopted brother "a sweet, caring young man who needed help further than the help my mother gave him, and she tried."

According to a post on Randol's Facebook page, the family celebrated the boy's adoption on June 2, 2016.

In December 2017, Randol posted to say the child came to live with her knowing "I would love him as my own."

"We both were so blessed and lucky to have the families we do. My family accepted him immediately ... I can not express how very lucky we are. The girls ... accepted (him) as their sibling ...," she wrote.

"When all the legal aspects (are) finished, we (will) have our son forever and always."

Balk and St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough  did not respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Sturgis Public Schools Superintendent Arthur Ebert released a statement to the media but said nothing about the child or his circumstances.

“As a district, it is our goal to provide support to our students, staff, and the community,” Ebert said. “We are limited in what we can share due to privacy laws and the sensitive nature of this tragedy.”

Detroit News Staff Writer Sarah Rahal and the Associated Press contributed.