A horrific scene unfolded in Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday when a father allegedly axed his son to death, telling police that he thought the boy was possessed by a demon and trying to eat him.

Gary Sherrill, 51, admitted to authorities that he hacked his 13-year-old son, David, to death, the Daily Mail reported.

“(He) stated he was scared of his son and believed his son was a demon and was going to eat him,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos said in a news release, according to The Arizona Republic.

The boy suffered “obvious signs of trauma” including “stab wounds and lacerations to several parts of his body,” authorities said.

Police discovered the gruesome scene after the boy’s mother called authorities out of concern that the teen hadn’t been brought back from a visit with Sherrill, her ex-husband.

Neighbors said Sherrill had been acting strangely in the days leading up to the slaying, and police had even visited his apartment recently. In one example cited by neighbors, Sherrill reportedly jumped out of the bushes and began talking to a female, who was startled by his behavior.

Another neighbor, speaking to the media on the condition of anonymity, said Sherrill seemed so strange that she at one point called child protective services to inquire about the boy’s treatment. While she said she didn’t observe outright abuse, she said something just didn’t seem right about the father’s actions and behavior.

“I know that all the windows were blacked out with tin foil,” she told KSAZ-TV. “I never saw the child playing whenever he was let out of the house … he had a tight hold on him. In the beginning, I kind of thought he might be kidnapped.”

Sherrill has been charged with first-degree murder.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Featured image via Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office