HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Deputies responding to a welfare check Thursday morning made a gruesome discovery at a northwest Harris County home when they found the dismembered body of a 72-year-old woman in a box.
Harris County sheriff's deputies were called to the home in the 11100 block of Cactus Point, which is near Barker Cypress and Cypress North Houston, after family members said they had not heard from Lucila Barnes since Tuesday.
Relatives reported her missing and told deputies that when they tried to reach her at her home, her son brandished a firearm and would not let them in the house, the sheriff's office said.
When deputies arrived, her son, identified as Robert Barnes, 36, gave conflicting stories and was not cooperative, investigators said. Once they obtained a search warrant, investigators found a large amount of blood inside the home before locating Lucila Barnes' body inside a box in the garage that investigators believe her son had built.
"Sad and horrific case," Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Robert Barnes has been charged with murder and tampering with a corpse in connection with her death. An autopsy will determine how the woman was killed.
Court records show that in 2019 Robert Barnes was charged with threatening his ex-girlfriend after he allegedly told her, "I will kill you and your family to prove my point."
That charge was dismissed because he was convicted in another case, records show.
His attorney at the time, Michael J. Edwards, told ABC13, "That's a terrible allegation. That's terrible news to hear," when asked Thursday night about the murder charge.
While the motive behind Lucila Barnes' death is not clear, Robert Barnes had been living with his mother for the past few years, according to neighbors.