Son in custody after mom found dead in Royal Oak home

Man says he tried to save neighbor before home 'blew up'

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Royal Oak police say a man is being held as a suspect in connection with a fire early Friday morning at his home where his mother's body was also discovered.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue said 69-year-old Maxine Hadley called police around 1 a.m. for help.

Uncut video: Police chief holds press conference on fire, death

"The caller stated her son was attempting to blow up the home. Officers arrived and found the home on fire, and the homeowner's 50-year-old son outside with a garden hose attempting to put out the fire," O'Donohue said.

Hadley's body was found in the basement when firefighters put out the flames at the home on North Altadena Avenue.

The son is being treated for burns, mostly to his legs, O'Donohue said. He also said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the case was being called a homicide.

Neighbor Matthew Bainter told Local 4 he tried to help Hadley when her adult son became violent during an apparent breakdown. He said the son suddenly became belligerent after a BBQ and ran into the home's basement.

"He had a gas canister … and he was slamming it on the cement (in the basement). I said, ‘Oh, my God. Stop it. It's going to blow up, it's just like a grenade," Bainter said. "At that point, I went upstairs to tell her, and at that very moment as the words were leaving my lips, the whole house just blew up. It knocked her and I through the living room."

Bainter said the flames spread quickly and he was unable to get the mother out because she had medical equipment.

O'Donohue said there have been several calls to the home for "family trouble" in the past, and there is a belief that mental health problems or substance abuse could be factors in the case.

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