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Only On 9: Mom Says Son Being Questioned For Strangling His Girlfriend Was Mentally Ill

MONROVIA (CNS) — Authorities say a man is being questioned for allegedly strangling his girlfriend in Monrovia Sunday.

The suspect reportedly sent a series of texts and images to his mother telling her what he had done.

The murder was reported about 3:50 p.m. in the 200 block of Mauna Loa Drive, according to Deputy Amber Smith of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

KCAL9's Erica Nochlin spoke to the suspect's mother in an interview that is Only On 9.

Maria Cortes knew she had to act fast when strange text messages and phone calls started coming to her in Valinda from her son in Monrovia.

"It was terrible," Cortes says, "really terrible. He cut his arms."

Her son, Joe Velazquez, told her he was hurting himself. He also told her that for his girlfriend it was too late.

"I guess she drank a beer or something or had some drinks and she just like really lost it. He was trying to make her quiet. I guess he choked her."

Cortes first called the LA County Sheriff's Department but believed they weren't acting fast enough.

She called the KCAL9 Newsroom. We connected her with the police again.

"I really appreciate what Channel  9 did," Cortes said.

During a welfare check, Monrovia Police said they contacted the man and found a woman's body inside a vehicle in the backyard.

A neighbor -- who didn't want to be identified -- told Nochlin that Velazquez was screaming in the yard and taken away in handcuffs.

"He was just yelling, 'I lost it, I just lost,'" the neighbor said.

The neighbor and Cortes both told Nochlin that the suspect and his alleged victim both suffered from mental illness.

"My whole life I've been trying to help him, to get help," Cortes said.

She added, "Never in a million years would I believe this was going to happen, never."

Cortes told Nochlin police confiscated her cell phone with the text messages as evidence.

The house where the couple was staying was owned by the woman's father, Nochlin reported.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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