VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A 15-year-old DeBary boy confessed to killing his mother after reporting her missing on Friday, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
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The teen, who we are not naming according to our crime guidelines, is being charged with murder.
The teen said he strangled his mother 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger late Thursday night at their home, according to the arrest report. He then used a wheelbarrow to load her into her van and buried her beneath a fire pit at River City Church early Friday morning.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office was originally called out to a reported burglary just before 4 p.m. on Friday. The boy said he came home from school and saw his mom was missing with her van still running in the driveway.
"He got home and me made his, in his own words, a 'grammy-winning phone call' to 911 to talk about this horrible incident,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
As the investigation continued, detectives say the teen’s story about the alleged robbery began to unravel, and he confessed to strangling his mother.
He later told detectives that he had two of his friends help him stage a burglary scene at his home on Alicante Road. The two 17-year-old friends are also in custody and are facing multiple criminal charges.
According to Chitwood, the teen said he strangled his mother after they got into an argument about his grades, because he earned a 'D.'
Deputies were able to recover the items the teens removed from the home in the staged burglary. They also recovered a shovel and broom used to bury Cleavenger's body and straighten up the scene around the fire pit.
Detectives located Cleavenger's body at River City Church early Saturday morning.
The teen's father was on a business trip and returned Friday to the heartbreaking news.
It’s not yet clear if the teen will the charged as an adult.
The investigation remains ongoing.
Reporter Deborah Souverain contributed to this story.