A 46-year-old man was charged Wednesday with beating his mother to death last week and leaving her body inside their Wyoming County home, police said.
Tuesday night, officers found the body of Gail VanBuren -- a 63-year-old mother of five and a grandmother -- hidden in her Watrous Street home in a quiet residential neighborhood in the Village of Perry.
Carey B. VanBuren has been charged with second-degree murder. Tuesday night, he was apprehended in Woodville, Texas, where police reportedly pulled him over on suspicion of drunken driving and he confessed to the killing.
Perry police officials believe that Gail VanBuren was killed sometime in the middle of last week after a quarrel with her son.
Investigators said the body was found hidden in a bedroom attached to the back of the home, which is unheated and appears much like a shed.
"They apparently had an argument, and she was struck in the head, which caused blunt-force trauma and caused her death," said Perry Police Chief Robert B. Guesno. "An instrument was used in the murder, but we are not disclosing the type of instrument at this time."
For the last week, family members had been looking for Gail VanBuren on their own, Guesno said, and they did not contact police.
Investigators said in a news conference late Wednesday that some family members mistakenly believed she was visiting a daughter who lived out of town.
The family went to the village police station about 7 p.m. Tuesday and filed a missing person's report.
A few hours later, Woodville police called Wyoming County authorities and said that over the weekend, they had stopped Carey VanBuren in his mother's car on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to Guesno. They said that VanBuren admitted Tuesday that he killed his mother and gave the officers details. Woodville officers then called Perry police.
Perry officers went to the house and found the body about 11 p.m. Tuesday. New York State Police and the Wyoming County Sheriff's Department assisted in the investigation.
Gail VanBuren, a longtime Perry resident, worked for the last 18 years in the bakery at the IGA supermarket on North Center Street, where she decorated cakes.
"She was a wonderful person and she was always happy," recalled friend and co-worker Debbie Gayhart. "She was well-known in Perry and in the store because she had a lot of friends. Most customers would come in and greet her by name. She was just very easygoing."
The last homicide in Perry occurred on New Year's Eve 2002, when Nicole Bzduch, 18, fatally beat her 1 1/2 -year-old daughter, Zoey Stevens. In May 2004, Bzduch was sentenced to 18 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.