When a good son goes bad – the murder and decapitation of Megan Hampton

Neighbors in the Laguna Terrace Mobile Home community in Laguna Beach, CA thought it was strange this past weekend when they noticed Matthew McDonald (34) leaving the area in a hurry. He was driving a vehicle and he reversed into a mailbox in his rush to leave. Matthew had not driven for months as he had a mental illness.

Laguna Terrace Park

Matthew was living in the community with his mother Megan Hampton (61) and Megan’s beautiful Mastiff dog.

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Just before 11am on Sunday, August 18 2019, a friend turned up to Megan’s house to accompany her to church. She was met with a grisly sight. Megan’s dog was covered in blood and there was blood all over the property. Megan was dead inside and she had been decapitated.

Police were called and neighbors gave a description of Matthew to them. LBPD Sgt. Jim Cota said Monday that there was a “history” between Hampton and her son that neighbors were aware of, adding that McDonald faces some “mental challenges.” Officers had previously responded to the home about domestic disturbance calls involving the son and his mother, Cota said.

He was pulled over by police in San Clemente, one hour after his mother’s body was discovered. He had blood on his clothing when he was taken into custody.

Matthew McDonald

Police also recovered a knife which they believe was used in the murder.

A neighbor described Megan as “awesome and loving and kind” and said that she and Matt lived together in the home. “It’s so unfortunate,” the neighbor said. “She loved yoga and life. She was really cool.”

Matthew has been booked on suspicion of murder, with bail set at $1 million. A motive for the killing has not been released to the public.

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