A Lilburn dad had not slept for about 10 days when he allegedly killed his 12-year-old special needs son and attempted to kill himself behind a church Monday night. And investigators are trying to determine if the lack of sleep affected his behavior.
The investigation began around 9:15 p.m. when officers responded to the parking lot of the First Baptist Church at 285 Main St., according to Lilburn police. A man had called 911 to report that he couldn’t breathe, police spokesman Capt. Thomas Bardugon said. The man was able to say that he was behind a church at Main Street and Ga. 29, police said.
When officers and paramedics arrived, they found the man with knife wounds and a boy dead in a small pickup truck among several church vans in the rear parking lot of the church, Bardugon said.
Police said Fikri Erdem, 47, admitted to cutting his son’s throat with a large kitchen knife and stabbing himself in the arms before calling 911, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Police have said the incident appeared to be a murder and attempted suicide.
Erdem, a native of Turkey, was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, police said. His condition was unknown Tuesday night, but police have issued a warrant for his arrest in the death of his son, Hakan Erdem, according to a media report.
As Erdem was being transported from the crime scene, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up near the scene, Bardugon said. One of the women was 38-year-old Gunes Erdem and they were on their way to the police station to report that her husband and son were missing, he said.
“It was quickly determined that the two subjects that were located in the white truck were the husband and son that they were seeking,” Bardugon said. The woman told police that at 7:44 p.m., her husband called her and left a message.
“The husband told his wife that he was sorry, to tell their daughters that it was an accident, and then he disconnected the call,” Bardugon said.
The wife told investigators that Hakan was a special needs child who needed constant care. The child yelled and screamed a great deal and he suffered from cerebral palsy, she told them.
“She also told investigators that her husband had been unable to sleep for approximately 10 days,” Bardugon said.
On Tuesday Erdem was under guard and recovering from his self-inflicted wounds at the hospital, police said. Once he is released, he will face a charge of malice murder, they said.
Neighbor Mohommad Bhuyan said he has known the Erdems for 10 years and he often saw the father caring for his son, who was a Sweetwater Middle School student, according to media reports.
“He’s a good guy,” Bhuyan said. “All the time he takes care of his son.”