Amid a recent spike in Phoenix homicides, a higher percentage of cases are going unsolved. The clearance rate of murders is about the same as the national average, but it used to be much higher.

An 89-year-old grandmother was killed in Chandler by her 30-year-old grandchild and caretaker, police said.

Brandon Smith was arrested on suspicion of killing Helen Smith at an apartment complex near Price Road and Chandler Boulevard on Sunday.

Brandon Smith had been acting as the sole caregiver for Helen Smith, who had dementia, according to a police report.

After Helen Smith urinated on herself, her grandchild became angry, slapping the woman in the face and causing her to fall into the tub, the report said. 

According to the report, Brandon Smith slit the unconscious woman’s throat so she would not have to “live like this anymore.”

At about 3:30 a.m., Brandon Smith called 911, saying Helen Smith was not breathing and it appeared someone had attacked her.

Brandon Smith fled before police arrived but was found at a “nearby location” shortly after, police said. Smith was booked on suspicion of one count of first-degree murder.

Court documents indicated the Smiths had been living together in the Chandler apartment for about three years.

Brandon Smith was already on probation for a previous aggravated assault arrest.  


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