Mother Of 15-Year-Old Killed By His Father Said McElrath Had Been Acting "Manic"

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Michael McElrath
Michael McElrath

The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was killed by his father said Michael McElrath had been acting "manic" in the days leading up to the tragic incident in Hixson on Aug. 18.

Judge Alex McVeigh bound a charge of criminal homicide against McElrath, a former jail officer, to the Grand Jury.

He is charged in the death of Dylan McElrath, who was a sophomore at Hixson High School.

Ms. McElrath said her husband of 21 years began acting strangely on Thursday prior to the Saturday incident in which Scout, the family's Labrador Retriever, was also shot and killed.

She said the "odd behavior" began when McElrath said he wanted her to know that he had cheated on her. She said he asked for forgiveness, and she said she told him he would forgive him.

The witness said her husband also told her their son had had sex. She said the son was "petrified" about that statement and told her privately it had not happened.

She said McElrath told her and their son, "Good things are going to happen." She said he stated they were going to get $150,000 - either through his invention or the lottery. He said it was going to happen in three days.

She said the invention involved use of two TENS unit to relieve pain. She said her husband was in constant pain (complex regional pain syndrome) after a surgery. She said he was mainly confined to a wheelchair.

The witness said, "He was so excited that it was going to happen. He was happy."

She said she was able to calm him down, and she said she would buy some lottery tickets.

Ms. McElrath said her husband also talked about inventions, science and God. She said, "Everything was in threes." 

She said her husband on Friday said "if he didn't die that something bad was going to happen the next night."

That Saturday she said she fixed his breakfast and "he seemed fine." She said he had her wake up their son and he talked more about God, religion and "wanting to get rid of war."

She said the family gathered in their master bedroom at their house on Cotter Road and he had them hugging each other. She said he told them he was God, their son was Jesus Christ and she was the Holy Spirit.

Ms. McElrath said she always used reading glasses, but he told her he would rub her eyes three times with a chemical and she would no longer need the glasses. She said he did so, but she still could not see well.

She said she told him he was "acting manic" so he calmed down. She said he then appeared to be fine.

Ms. McElrath said she went back to bed around 9 p.m. She said she sleeps with ear plugs and a mask over her face because her husband ans son would keep the TV on..

She said she woke up during the night and her husband came in carrying their dog Scout. She said he gave her a fierce hug with one hand while doing the same with the dog with the other.

The witness said she noticed McElrath had blood on the lower part of his shirt, but he said, "Don't worry about it. It's just a bad dream. Go back to sleep."

Then she said he asked her to shoot him in the head. She said she noticed that two handguns had been placed on the bottom of the bed.

She said she got up and saw the dog lying on the floor. "It looked like he was dead," she stated.

Ms. McElrath said she then went into her son's room and found where he had been sitting on his knees. She saw several wounds on his arms.

She said there were two gunshot wounds to his chest, and he had no pulse.

By then, she said McElrath was gone. She said she had not seen or talked to him since.

A county deputy said he found McElrath on the porch of a neighbor's house. The neighbors had called 911, saying a naked man was knocking on their door.

He said McElrath was still completely without clothes. Following commands, he slid down the front steps and was handcuffed.

The deputy said McElrath stated, "I'm so sorry. I shot my son. I don't know why."

He said McElrath afterward was lying on his stomach and saying he could not feel his legs. He was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out.

McElrath then asked for a lawyer, it was stated.

County Investigator Adam Patterson said some 10 9mm shells were found in Dylan's bedroom. He said two handgun (a 9mm and a 22) were found on the TV stand. 

Click here to listen to the court recording. 





New Book Chattanooga In Old Photos Now Available At Zarzours; Enter Drawing To Win All 4 Photo Books

The new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by, is now available at Zarzours Restaurant on the Southside. The limited edition of 800 copies is printed by College Press of Collegedale. It is the fourth book in the collection called the Chattanooga Photo Books made possible by The others are The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALMOND, MELISSA DIANE  267 E MICHIGAN AVE WHITWELL, 37397  Age at Arrest: 36 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FUGITIVE (ARREST FOR CRIME IN WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA --- ASLINGER, JEFFERY JAMES  1504 GREEN POND ROAD SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting ... (click for more)

Rhonda Thurman Was On Target On The Magnet Schools

I can remember Rhonda Thurman telling the other members of the School Board that she would love to go to Las Vegas with certain parents that won the right to go to a Magnet School because they beat all odds.  She also called Magnet Schools"Private Schools" long before anyone else did.  It is truly amazing what some people won't or don't hear.  I hope some ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Do You Trust?

About this time last month a 25-year-old kid with a fresh degree in “public policy” left me a phone call hoping to get my views. Joda Thongnopnua is the Democratic candidate for the State House in District 30 and he is like a load of other erstwhile politicians in my experience who I’ve never heard of but “really want to meet me” … this with less than a month before they “really” ... (click for more)

Mocs Soccer Ties VMI 2-2

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga came back from a 2-0 deficit early with a pair of first half goals. The two teams battled it out for a draw in the season finale for both teams. The Mocs close out the year at 8-7-3 overall and 4-3-2 in league play, tied with Mercer for sixth in the standings. The Keydets are 6-8-2 on the year and 0-8-1 against the conference. “As ... (click for more)

Baylor, GPS, CCS Advance To State Soccer Semifinals

Baylor traveled to Briarcrest in Memphis on Saturday to compete for a Division II-AA final four spot.  After play to a 0-0 tie in the first half, Baylor would find itself down 1-0 in the 63rd minute when Anna Strong scored off a corner kick.  That lead did not last long as Ara Rhodes scored the game tying goal one minute later off an Avery David corner kick. Two minutes ... (click for more)