Man who severed his mother's head is father to toddler beaten to death (2023)

Zarah Coombs (pictured) is facing manslaughter charges for beating her four-year-old son and leaving him for dead in a plastic tub filled with water

The Brooklyn woman who allegedly confessed to beating her four-year-old son to death with a broomstick was once married to the boy's incarcerated father who was convicted of killing and decapitating his mother in 2013.

Tanya Byrd, 52, was killed and dismembered by her oldest son, Bahsid McLean, in February 2013 when he was married to Zarah Coombs, whose original name was Vera McLean at the time of his heinous crime that saw him convicted of murder in November 2016.

His aunt, Cassandra McLean-Smith, told theNew York Daily News: 'A child kills his mother, and then a mother kills her child. Ridiculous. What are we coming to? Ain't this crazy?'

On Thursday, Coombs, was arrested for the horrific killing of her four-year-old son Zamair, who she allegedly beat to death and left for dead in a plastic storage bin filled with water.

The toddler became the target of her anger when he accidentally dropped an egg on the floor, sources told the Daily News.

When Zamair was just three months old, his father Bahsid stabbed Byrd in the neck, after she told him he was a bad father.

He then dismembered her body with a Black & Decker electrical saw before taking a selfie with her decapitated head. Bahsid then stuffed her body parts into plastic bags that he scattered all over the Bronx.

During his trial for his mother's murder, his defense team tried to argue that jurors should acquit Bahsid by reason of mental defect or disease, claiming he was 'broken' and had voices in his head since he was a child.

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Bahsid McLean is pictured above posing for a selfie with the severed head of his mother Tanya Byrd in 2013. He was convicted of her murder last year, and is also the father of the four-year-old boy who was beat to death with a broomstick allegedly by his motherZarah Coombs

Byrd (above) was killed and dismembered by her Bahsid, who is now serving 25 years to live in prison for the February 2013 crime he committed while married to Coombs. At the that time, Coombs original name was Vera McLean

But a jury disagreed and found him guilty of the crime; he was eventually sentenced last year to serve 25 years to life in prison for the horrific crime.

McLean-Smith told the Daily News her nephew and Coombs met in a group home and that her family was against her marrying him.

'We weren't against her, we were against Bahsid,' said McLean-Smith.

'My nephew was no good. He was a bully, he didn't work, he lived off his mother. We couldn't understand what she saw in him.'

She added that she had only found out about the fatal beating of the four-year-old boy on Saturday morning when she received a phone call about the tragedy.

McLean-Smith said that she had only seen Zamair once when he was less than a year old.

'I cried this morning,' said McLean-Smith. 'I did a lot of crying. How do you beat a child that bad?

'How do you beat a child to death with a broom? What made you so angry? He's 4 years old.'

During a jailhouse interview on Rikers Island, Coombs cried while discussing her son's death.

'He's gone and it's all my fault,' Coombs, who is on suicide watch, told the New York Post.'My life is over.

'Nothing will ever be the same. My baby is gone,' she said of her son, who was the second eldest of her four children.

She is blaming her rage on post-partum depression and said that she can't remember hitting Zamair with the broomstick, as she claims the memory is 'blacked out.'

When Zamair was just three months old, his father Bahsid (above) stabbed Byrd in the neck, after she told him he was a bad father. He then dismembered her body with a Black & Decker electrical saw

Bahsid then stuffed her body parts into plastic bags that he scattered all over the Bronx (above)

Coombs added that all she recalls is a mix of noises from inside the family's basement apartment, including the TV blaring and cries from both her one-month-old and one-year-old boys.

She said that Zamair was trying to help her make lunch, as 'he loved food (and) wanted to be a chef.'

'He called you a meatball and a chicken nugget — that was his way of saying he loved you,' Coombs shared.

After 'blacking out', Coombs told the Post that she remembered the four-year-old boy still being alive.

'He was humming,' Coombs remembered. 'He looked at me, but he didn't say anything.'I said, 'OK, baby. Let's get you in a warm bath.'

She added that she apologized and told the toddler she loved him before putting him in a storage bin for a bath.

Coombs said that she fell asleep while trying to breastfeed the one-month-old baby and was awoken by her boyfriend, 26-year-old Jamari Richardson, who came home from work to find Zamair unconscious in the bin around 9pm on Wednesday.

'He went under!' the boyfriend told her.

'And I said, 'What do you mean, under? There's barely any water. There's nothing to go under.'

The couple called 911, before the boyfriend tried to give Zamair CPR, she said.


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Bahsid (above) and Coombs first met in a group home. They filed for divorce in April 25, 2016, and the case was settled on November 15, 2016

Coombs teared up during her first court appearance on Thursday for the death of her toddler son Zamair. She's pictured above being led by police officers in handcuffs

But the little boy died after doctors attempted to revive him three times at the hospital.

Of hitting the four-year-old, she told the Post: 'I lost it. That was a panic attack … if I could have banged my head any harder and banged it open [instead of striking Zamair] I would have done it.

'(Now), Every time I close my eyes, I see his face, hear his voice. I just talk to him all night.'

During her first court appearance, Coombs teared up on Thursday to face charges of manslaughter, acting in a manner injurious of a child and criminal possession of weapon after the mother-of-four was arrested Wednesday night

Richardson is the father of Coombs' youngest two children, but Zamair and her 9-year-old child have different dads, both of whom are incarcerated.

After her arrest, over the next several hours, Coombs story about what happened changed several times.

At first, she said that Zamair slipped on a wet towel and hit his head on the toilet when she wasn't looking.

But under police interrogation, Coombs copped to beating the boy with a broomstick after he started to annoy her while she was caring for his two younger siblings, as hedropped an egg on the floor.

Coombs' boyfriend Jamari Richardson came home Wednesday night to find four-year-old Zamair unconscious and submerged in the water-filled tub in their basement apartment

She grabbed a broomstick and beat him until he was silent, then went back to tending to the other kids while he slumped under the water in the plastic storage bin she had been using to bathe him.

Coombs' boyfriend was out buying marijuana and when he returned around 9pm he found Zamair unconscious in the bin. He called 911 immediately and paramedics found the boy unconscious, not breathing and foaming at the mouth.

A neighbor says Coombs looked oddly calm as paramedics tried to revive her son.

'She was just standing there like she just don't care,' neighbor Ray Moore said, according to the Daily News. 'I know if it was me, my mother would've been in the ambulance. That's when you know something wasn't right.'

Abrasions were found on the boy's neck and bruises covered other various parts of his body. The exact cause of death will be determined in an autopsy.

Michael Thomas, Coombs' sister, says he was called over to the house after paramedics arrived, and witnessed the scene unfold.

'They were pumping on his chest,' Thomas said. 'When I saw them inserting the breathing tube, you know that's bad. He was foaming at the mouth.'

He says he does not feel sorry for his sister's arrest, if the charges are true.

'Family or not she deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent,' he said. 'People argue, they fight, but this is unacceptable, intolerable for you to kill a 4-year-old. A sister or not, she has to be held accountable.'

Coombs' brother says he feels no sympathy for his sister if the accusations are true

Thomas says he had no idea about the abuse or else he would have alerted police himself.

However, he says that the Administration for Children's Services had stopped by the apartment several times before Zamair's death.

Sources tell the Daily News that ACS investigated a pair of unfounded allegations in 2015. The first was for failure to provide medical care, and the second - three months later - for inadequate supervision.

Coombs was also involved in three domestic incidents in 2002, 2006 and 2011. It's unclear what those domestic incidents involved, but neighbors said that Coombs and her boyfriend argued a lot.

In fact, police were called to the residence just the night before for a domestic dispute between Coombs and Richardson.

'They had a lot of issues. It was regular. She'd be cursing, saying 'F--k you,'' Moore said.

Coombs three other children - a 9-year-old, a one-year-old and a one-month-old - are now in the care of child services.


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