Neighbor in ‘total shock’ after Hartselle woman accused of killing 8-year-old son

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:51 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:10 AM CDT
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HARTSELLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A community is in shock after learning a Hartselle mother allegedly stabbed her 8-year-old son to death.

Cecil Cole is a long-term resident of the neighborhood where the tragedy occurred. He said he could have never imagined something like this would happen in the calm and quiet suburb.

“It has totally been a shock,” Cole said. “The neighborhood is extremely safe. It’s just a good and quiet neighborhood and we all look out for each other.”

Cole told WAFF 48 that there are simply no words to describe the tragedy and that all he can do is pray for the family.

“I really truly don’t know what to say. This family has lost tremendously,” Cole said. “It’s just a whole tragedy and it’s just a total shock. To mean that, I don’t know why it would happen.”

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Mike Swafford said this situation is simply horrific and it hits close to home for him.

“Anything involving a child at any time whether it’s a wreck or something like this, it’s tough. I have two kids in elementary school, as do most of our team so anything like that, it just reminds you of what you have,” Swafford said. “I’m looking forward today to getting home and [hugging] my kids and just let them know that they’re loved.”

Swafford said they have counselors ready to meet with the team who responded to the call this morning. He said witnessing a scene like this is unimaginable, and they want to take the proper steps to evaluate officers’ mental health afterward.

“Our team responds to all kinds of different events. Some are very traumatic, horrific if you will,” Swafford said. “A lot of times you will feel fine and then somebody will mess up your order at the drive-through window and you’ll just go bananas and that’s because that grief and raw emotion like that has to come out somewhere so thankful we have those avenues for it to get addressed.”

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