Ex-sister-in-law of murdered Independence woman calls her death shocking, unexpected

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An Independence man was charged on Saturday with murdering his mother inside of their Independence home.

Shane Harrelson, 23, accused of killing his mother in Independence on Saturday.

Shane Harrelson, 23, accused of killing his mother in Independence on Saturday.

Prosecutors say 23-year-old Shane Harrelson murdered his mother, 47-year-old Michelle Harrelson.

Police say they received a frantic 911 call for help from a man saying his ex-wife was dead and his son was out of control.

47-year-old Michelle Harrelson

47-year-old Michelle Harrelson

When police arrived to this house on East Mechanic Avenue in Independence, they found Michelle's body in a pile of twigs, shot, beaten and stabbed.

It is hard for Leanna Herrelson-Atterbury to believe her ex-sister-in-law is dead. Harrelson-Atterbury became friends with Michelle 30-years ago, when the two worked at the same restaurant. Harrelson-Atterbury introduced Michelle to her brother, and soon after, the friends became family.

"She was just a kind-hearted person. She would do anything for you," said Harrelson-Atterbury, who calls the situation, "Very shocking and unexpected and I cried, I cried hard."

Court documents detail a gruesome murder. Police say when they showed up at Michelle's house Saturday night, they found her dead, and her son Shane in the garage, tattooing the word mom on his inner thigh, his hands covered in blood.

"I feel like if something was to happen like that, there must have been a mental break or something," said Harrelson-Atterbury.

Harrelson-Atterbury adds that her nephew suffers from mental health issues, but since becoming an adult, it has been difficult for the family to get him into treatment.

Court records show Shane made the statement his mother had chastised him for being lazy and dirty.

Police say when questioned, Shane told them he had a "vivid" memory of Saturday, and told them he "kissed his mom goodbye". When questioned about the murder, police say Shane got agitated, but did not comment, instead indicated that he was tired of detectives talking about his mother.

Shane is one of Michelle's three children.

"She was always there for her children. In school, sports events, whatever they seemed to be interested in she was there to back them up," says Harrelson-Atterbury.

While she continues to mourn the loss of her friend and family member, Harrelson-Atterbury says she will now be there to back up her nephew,"I am not condoning what he is being accused of, but he is still my family and I have to stand behind him."

The prosecutor is asking for a $500,000 bond. Shane is expected to be in court on Tuesday.

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