Son beat parents to death inside family home, cops say

A suburban Philadelphia couple were beaten to death by their own son in their New Jersey home, authorities said Saturday. 

Edward Coles Jr., 58, and wife Rosemarie Coles, 55, of West Deptford, were found dead by another family member Friday morning. The couple’s son, 28-year-old Ryan Coles, was arrested on murder and weapons charges. His bail was set at $1 million.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said that the couple died from “blunt head trauma” and alleged that Ryan Coles had bludgeoned his parents “with his hands and an unknown object.”

Neighbors told local media outlets that police had been called to the couple’s home before. WPVI reported that Ryan Coles struggled with mental illness, but had never been arrested before. 

“He seemed a little detached, depressed,” neighbor John Ferencsik told the station. “We didn’t really know that, just know the impression I had was he was a little bit off.”

Lauralee Houghton, Edward Coles Jr.’s second cousin, told Fox29 Ryan Coles briefly worked at the music shop his father founded before being fired, though she would not elaborate on why.

The elder Coles recently sold the music shop to Houghton, though he still worked at the business full time. 

“[Friday] was just a normal day. He came in to work and everything seemed normal,” Houghton said. “Nothing was out of the ordinary.”


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