Crime

Son knew his injured mom would likely die while he ignored her, Wake deputies say

Eric Paul Brunner
Eric Paul Brunner

A man accused of leaving his mother on the floor in their home admitted that he knew she would probably die and wanted it to happen, according to information Wake County sheriff's deputies submitted in asking for warrants to search the house.

Money was a motive, according to a warrant.

Cynthia Brunner, who was 74, had fallen "more than 24 hours" before Eric Paul Brunner, 39, reported her death Feb. 19, deputies told a magistrate who issued the search warrants.

Eric Brunner, who authorities have said was his mother's caretaker, is accused of murder and elder abuse. He was arrested March 13 at the house at 6801 Marksman Way, a Cary address outside the town.

Eric Brunner "admitted that he knew his inaction would likely lead to her death and he wanted her to die," Investigator J.N. Yoakum stated.



Brunner "believes she has as much as $30,000 in the bank that he would have access to after her death," the investigator said.

The son already "had access to at least part of her accounts" and handled her financial affairs, according to Yoakum.

Mother was on floor for at least a day, account says

"During interviews with Mr. Brunner, it was learned that his mother had fallen more than 24 hours ago and that he had made no effort to provide aid," Yoakum wrote.

The mother was "squirming" while Brunner was ignoring her, Yoakum said the son told him.

"Mr. Brunner admits that he and his mother have had a tenuous relationship," Yoakum told the magistrate.

When they charged Eric Brunner, deputies listed the crime as happening some time between Feb. 13 and the day he reported her death.

Investigators were awaiting autopsy information from the State Medical Examiner's office that might narrow the time frame.

Cynthia Brunner "made attempts to communicate with [Eric Brunner] for some time after falling," according to the warrant application

Brunner told authorities that his mother had prescribed medicine for diabetes and other illnesses and that her medicines were in the house, Yoakum's application said.

While deputies were interviewing Brunner, he told them "that in the days prior to his mother's death that he had exchanged email(s) with a church member concerning his negative feelings toward his mother," according to a search warrant that gave deputies permission to go through computers and a thumb drive found in the house.

The search warrants were turned in at the Wake County court clerk's office late Friday afternoon.

Brunner is being held without bail at the Wake County Detention Center and is scheduled for a court hearing April 14.

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