A boy who came home from school and found his mother dead was then bound with belts and duct tape by her alleged killer, whom police arrested last week.
Edward Ford, 36, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 44-year-old Cheryl Thomas, who was discovered dead in her home in the McCulloh Homes housing project near downtown Thursday afternoon.
According to police, Thomas' son returned from school and found her in her bedroom, handcuffed behind her back and with her feet bound. Police would later determine she had been asphyxiated. The suspect was apparently still in the house, and duct-taped the son and used several belts to tie his hands and feet, police said.
The suspect fled the area, and the boy was able to free himself and call police. Witnesses saw the suspect leave in Thomas' vehicle, police said.
Ford, of the 2700 block of E. Monument St., was identified through a photo lineup, police said.
In addition to first-degree murder, Ford has been charged with child abuse, assault, and motor vehicle theft, court records show. He was being held without bail.
Investigators believe Thomas and Ford had dated, but a motive for the killing was not known. In June of last year, Thomas sought a protective order against Ford, records show, but it was dismissed when she failed to appear at a follow-up hearing. In 2009, Ford filed for a protective order against Thomas, but he later requested that it be dismissed, according to court records.
Ford has a record including assault and drug-distribution convictions. In November, he was found guilty of second-degree assault and sentenced to a suspended term of two years in jail and probation.
In 2004, he was convicted of drug-distribution counts and sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but time served suspended, and received three years in prison for a probation violation. He had previously received four years in prison on drug-manufacturing counts in 1998.
When Ford was charged in 2008 with issuing false documents and forgery, Thomas posted his bond, records show.