A respected Long Island professor was reportedly beheaded by her son in Farmingdale Tuesday. He later was struck by a Long Island Rail Road train in an apparent suicide, NBC News reported Wednesday.

The decapitated body of Patricia Ward, 66, an associate professor of language arts at Farmingdale State College's LI Educational Opportunity Center, was discovered around 8 p.m. Her son, David Ward, 35, apparently killed her in their apartment and then dragged her lifeless body through the street as commuters headed home from the Long Island Rail Road, the news site said.

She had broken ribs and was stabbed numerous times, police said. Her head was found 5 feet from her body. About a half- hour after the professor’s body was found, police received news someone was hit by a train in an apparent suicide. The two deaths were linked soon after.

Patricia Ward Patricia Ward, a professor at Farmingdale State College, was reportedly decapitated by her son Derek Tuesday in a scene witnesses thought was a Halloween prank. Photo: Farmingdale State College

Witnesses first thought it was a Halloween decoration after the body was found near a home decorated with pumpkins, fake cobwebs and a mock graveyard, only later to discover they saw a real-life horror scene. "I saw the body, completely straight legs together, hands at its side,” Dale Silverman told NBC News. "It looked fake,'' she said."I thought it was a stupid Halloween prank.''

"There's a lot of tears; it’s a sad place today," Patrick Calabria, vice president of institutional advancement at Farmingdale State College, told Fox News. "She was well-known, well-liked and well-respected.”

"Right now, the family is grieving, they have to make funeral arrangements," he said. "After things settle down, we’ll be in touch with her relatives to see what they’d like to do."

Derek Ward was unemployed, had a psychiatric disorder that went back 10 years and was arrested years ago for gun possession and criminal mischief, NBC News said. His mental illness was reportedly intensified by the death of his grandfather.

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