Truro man dead after being charged with murdering mother


Adam Howe was arrested for allegedly killing his mother Susan, a well-known and beloved Truro resident.

Adam Howe, the man police in Truro arrested for allegedly killing his mother and setting her body on fire on their front lawn, died in custody Sunday.

Following a medical emergency in his jail cell, Howe was brought to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where he was pronounced dead, NBC 10 reported.

Officials said they have not yet determined the cause of death.

“Out of respect for the family, we have no additional comment or details,” a spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Sunday night. “That family has been through a lot this weekend; please keep them in your prayers.”

This is what we know about the incident so far.


Police responded to a request for a well-being check and a separate report of a fire at around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the Truro Police Department. When officers arrived, they found 34-year-old Adam Howe outside the house and a fire on the front lawn. 

Police soon realized that the fire was a burning body, and Howe quickly went back into the house, locking the door. 

The Cape Cod Regional SWAT Team was called and eventually entered the house. Howe was arrested and charged with murder. 

The victim was identified as Adam Howe’s mother, 69-year-old Susan Howe. 

What we know about the victim

Susan Howe was a beloved and well-known member of the Truro community, bringing energy and a passion for public good to the tiny town near the tip of Cape Cod. 

Adam Howe was charged with murder after police found his mother’s body burning on her front lawn. – Photo Courtesy Tewksbury Police Department

Susan Howe recently helped renovate a local playground to make it fully accessible, and encouraged the town to display blue lights in the name of autism awareness, The Boston Globe reported. 

She served as President of the Board of Directors for the Truro Historical Society, where she coordinated the signing of a 20-year lease with the National Park Service to preserve the historic Highland House. With the signing, documented in a 2017 Facebook post, the historical society committed to continuing its management of the 1907-built hotel as a museum dedicated to Truro history. 

“Susan brought immense creativity, energy, time and passion to our organization. She loved Truro, and was totally committed to preserving our history and culture and the well-being of her beloved town,” the historical society said in a statement to the Globe. “Susan was a bright light in our organization and in our town. She was loved by so many of us, and we will miss her forever.”

Susan Howe also served on the Truro Commission on Disabilities. She helped install exercise equipment at Puma Park Playground and was in the process of coordinating the installation of a communication board at the park to help nonverbal people enjoy the space, according to the Globe. A recent meeting of the commission was held at a property belonging to the historical society to accommodate her busy schedule. 

“Our hearts are heavy with the news that we have lost a beloved member of our community, Susan Howe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this time of tragic loss. We are following the lead of law enforcement as they investigate this tragedy and have no further comment at this time,” The Truro Select Board said in a statement.

What we know about the suspect

On Saturday, Truro police said that arrangements were being made for Adam Howe to be “evaluated for mental health issues,” after investigators spoke with family members. 

After his arrest Adam Howe was brought to Cape Cod Hospital for treatment of a medical issue, the Globe reported. He was subsequently discharged from the hospital but remained in police custody. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe told the paper that his office was in the process of committing Adam Howe to a facility such as Bridgewater State Hospital or the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston for mental health evaluations. 

O’Keefe declined to say whether or not police spoke with Adam Howe after he was arrested, or if he provided any information about how his mother died. 

“The mental health system — I’ve seen it fail so many times in these kinds of tragedies,” O’Keefe told the Globe. “It’s really a broken system and I hope we fix it one of these days.”

This is not Adam Howe’s first time in custody. He was arrested in August by police in Tewksbury after he allegedly broke into a business on Old Main Street. An employee arrived at around 7 a.m. to find him inside, and he quickly left. 

Officers later located Adam Howe on Main street, identifying him as the suspect in the break in. Police also learned that Howe was being sought on a warrant out of Salem, N.H., on a charge of Receiving Stolen Property. He was arrested. 

When searching Adam Howe police found that he had Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid addiction, without a prescription. He pleaded not guilty at a pre-trial hearing in late September. 

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