Family: 9-year-old homicide suspect struggled with mood disorders

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Family: 9-year-old homicide suspect struggled with mood disorders. (WWMT/Courtesy Reagan Martin)

A sibling of a 9-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing his adopted mother said he needed mental health treatment, but never intended to harm her.

St. Joseph County deputies discovered 51-year-old Pauline Randol shot to death in her Fawn River Township home Monday. Her 9-year-old son was charged as a juvenile with open murder and felony firearm charge in St. Joseph County Family Court.

"He was normal little boy," Reagan Martin, the 9-year-old's sister, said.

Martin, 23, said her brother suffered abuse as a young boy and had been adopted into the family three years ago. She said her little brother struggled with a mood disorder and the behavior got worse in the days leading to the shooting.

"My brother was lost in his brain and my mom was lost in watching him sink in his own mental illness," Martin said.

Martin said things got worse a couple of weeks ago when he switched medication.

"He was extra frustrated, extra agitated, extra violent. He slammed doors, locked himself in his bedroom. He was lost, very lost," Martin said.

Martin said Randol kept him from school on Monday out of concern.

"She told me she didn't want to send him to school because she knew how he was acting and how he hasn’t going to last a whole school day. I'd like to think my mother didn't know it was coming, but he got mad and he snapped," Martin said.

The family said the 9-year-old used his father's hunting rifle in the shooting. Martin said its unclear how he got his hands on the weapon.

"I think she just knew there was no turning back, no going forward. She just knew in the moment, it was her time," Martin said.

Martin said Randol tried to get her son help in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

"I know she told them she couldn't handle him anymore. She was lost on what to do," Martin said.

According to a Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County internal memo obtained by Newschannel 3, the boy was scheduled to begin the intake process on May 7, a day after the shooting.

"She got an appointment, but it was too late," Martin said.

Attorney T.J. Reed of Sturgis confirmed he was representing the boy.

In a statement, Reed wrote, “Based on the severity of the charges and the age of the accused, it is important to keep focused of the future and long-term impact these proceedings and charges may have on a child this age. It is important to allow this case to properly move through the legal process and to not pre-judge this child based on partial or unknown facts.”