Officials: Man who admitted to drowning mother in river dies by suicide

Just before 3:30 p.m. Monday, officials say a staff member at Garner Correction Institution in Newtown was doing a routine tour when he saw a person in their cell with a “ligature” tied to his neck.

News 12 Staff

Jul 11, 2023, 5:32 PM

Updated 312 days ago

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The man accused of drowning his mother in New Milford has died by suicide while incarcerated, officials announced Tuesday.
Just before 3:30 p.m. Monday, officials say a staff member at Garner Correction Institution in Newtown was doing a routine tour when he saw a person in their cell with a “ligature” tied to his neck.
The man, identified as Eric Meagan, 34, of New Milford, was pronounced dead on the scene. The medical examiner determined he died by suicide.
Meagan was being held at the facility on murder charges.
Police say Meagan admitted to drowning his mother, Victoria Palmer, 56, in Still River in New Milford because he needed to sacrifice her to "the demons."
Police said Meagan and his mother frequently walked along the Still River at Harrybrooke Park most mornings. But they said on their final walk, Meagan put his mother in a headlock and dragged her in the water.
He told police he held his mother underwater for 10 minutes until she stopped moving. Police say he told them he did it to keep the demons away and that he believed his mother loved him so much that she would have been willing to sacrifice herself to save him.
Police said Meagan told them he thought about killing his mother on several other occasions. Meagan's father told police his son has a history of mental illness and that his son had been hospitalized at one point after running outside naked and talking to God.
Police said Meagan at one point planned to kill his entire family and that he killed a family cat before he killed his mother.
Meagan made the 911 call almost a half an hour after he said he killed his mother in the river, authorities say.
In a statement Meagan's lawyer said, "Attorney Stephanie O’Neil and I were informed late last night that our client, Eric Meagan, passed away while in the custody of the Department of Correction at Garner CI. Garner CI is a dedicated high-security correctional facility that provides care and treatment for adult male offenders suffering from significant mental health issues. It is my understanding that Eric took his own life; he was due in court today. My heart goes out to the family. They have tragically lost two members of their family in just over a month of each other, and their deaths were very much preventable. Mental, emotional, and psychological health are just as important as physical health. We need to do better to address this public health crisis that devastates our entire community."


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