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Mother, stepbrother charged with homicide in death of boy with Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted at 11:03 AM, Oct 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 11:09:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A woman and her adult son have been charged with the murder of the woman's 14-year-old son with Asperger's Syndrome, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD).

Rebacca Greenwood, 52, called police just before noon Friday to report that her son, Sayeed Neilson, appeared to be dead.

Initially, Greenwood and her other son, David Matheny, 33, told police that Neilson fell in the shower on Thursday and hit his head. They said Matheny got Neilson to his feet, helped him dry off and assisted him into bed. Greenwood added that she and Matheny checked on Neilson several times before going to a local bar for drinks.

The suspects claimed they found Neilson dead in his room after purchasing cleaning products at a grocery store Friday morning and cleaning the house.

Detectives determined that Neilson's injuries were inconsistent with just a fall. Greenwood and Matheny were taken to police headquarters for detailed interviews, during which Greenwood admitted to seeing Matheny punch Neilson and kick him in the head. She also admitted to telling Matheny to stop before walking away without making sure that he actually stopped.

In Matheny's interview, he admitted to fighting with his step-brother but denied causing him any serious injury.

Detectives believe the suspects' cleaning of the house was an effort to limit the availability of evidence.

Greenwood and Matheny are charged with criminal homicide, aggravated child abuse and evidence tampering. They have been ordered to be held without bond.

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Rebacca Greenwood (Photo: MNPD)

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David Matheny (Photo: MNPD)

Editor's note: Police spelled the victim's last name as "Nelson" in their release. A family member reached out to NewsChannel 5 and said it's spelled Neilson. This story has been updated to reflect that.