The uncle of the mentally ill man who beheaded his mother earlier this week says that he was a "sick, sick kid" who had been off his meds for days. "He killed my sister because we couldn’t get the prescriptions he needed. For four days, he didn’t have his meds,” Rev. Robert Lubrano, brother of victim Patricia Ward, told the News. "She’s dead because he had a mental illness, and we didn’t know how serious it was. We’re in terrible shock. She was a wonderful person."

Ward, a 66-year-old professor at Farmingdale State College, was decapitated by 35-year-old son Derek Ward just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the Farmingdale apartment where they both lived; apparently, he "sat with his mother's mutilated body for a few minutes inside their blood-spattered home following the brutal attack before taking it outside and kicking her head 20 feet." He then committed suicide by throwing himself in front of an LIRR train.

Lubrano said Ward had been battling psychiatric problems for years, but he had never been violent before: "He never raised his hand to her before this. Never had a gun. This is all about mental illness and the difficulty of getting a psychiatrist," he said, adding that the mom had set up an appointment for Ward with a psychiatrist today. Lubrano said that they "never got a real diagnosis. We thought it was schizophrenia or depression." Ward complained about hearing voices, and had previously spent six weeks in a Long Island psych hospital in August 2013, after his maternal grandfather died.

Police say that Ward used a knife to cut off his mother's head in front of their apartment building, then kicked the head across the street. In addition, she had suffered multiple stab wounds and broken bones. Neighbors initially thought it was some sort of Halloween display. Lubrano also couldn't believe it when he got to the scene Tuesday night: "I thought I was in a horror movie. Cut her head off? To do what he did to the woman he loved the most in this world, his mommy? Her whole life, she was there for him. She did the best she could," he said.

Other friends echoed Lubrano's feelings: "She had a very difficult life and suffered greatly," Lucille DeLetto, a friend and colleague at the school, told Newsday. "He was off his medication and she had desperately tried to get him help. She dedicated her life to her son. She did everything she could but, obviously, it wasn't enough."

"My nephew was not a bad person, (just) a sick person," Lubrano told the News. "He had ADD and was dyslexic. She taught him how to read, then he became an avid reader, went back to school...He was a really good kid. Whatever happened after my father died, it broke him."

The joint wake for mother and son is planned for Monday from 4 to 9 p.m. at McCourt & Trudden Funeral Home in Farmingdale. The funeral is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Tuesday at St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church.