A woman told Hanahan police that she strangled her 68-year-old mother because ghosts had ordered her to do it, authorities said Tuesday.
Paula Lynn Anderson, 45, of Rickett Avenue in North Charleston faces a murder charge in the death of her mother, Frances Anderson.
An autopsy revealed that she had died of “manual strangulation,” Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said, and her death was ruled a homicide. It was the first slaying in Hanahan and in Berkeley County this year and the ninth in the tri-county area.
Paula Anderson was jailed Monday morning, but the Hanahan Police Department didn’t reveal her arrest publicly until Tuesday because it was waiting for autopsy results, Capt. Michael Fowler said.
The suspect had called the police before 8 a.m. Monday to her mother’s house at 5840 Beverly Drive.
As officers responded, she told dispatchers that she was having a mental breakdown and that the people under the house had told her to kill her mother, an incident report stated.
The officers found the body on the floor of a back bedroom. A brown electrical cord was wrapped around her neck, with fingernail marks on her neck, according to the affidavit. She was strangled to death by hand, Salisbury said.
Paula Anderson later told investigators that she had been hearing ghosts and that if she didn’t kill her mother they would have killed her, the affidavits added. Her mother fought her off and scratched her neck, she told the police.
She asked investigators not to tell her aunt, who would be mad at her. She added that she deserved to be executed or go to hell.
Anderson was denied bail Tuesday night by Judge Otis C. Prioleau.
During the hearing, she told the court that she had been poisoned and she kept her hands tightly clasped together.
When Prioleau mentioned her mother, Anderson began to weep but kept her eyes glued to the floor.
Note: This story has been updated from a previous version to clarify the method of strangulation.
Melissa Boughton contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414.