IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Neighbors of an Irving mother accused of killing her 8-year-old son, saying demons made her do it, said Monday evening they’re still trying to process this.

“I don’t know what happened to me but at 5 o’clock I couldn’t sleep,” said neighbor Hem Mehta.

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Joevani De La Pena’s body was found in an RV behind a family member’s home on Peach Tree Lane Sunday morning.

Joevani De La Pena (courtesy: Fransisca Dennett)

Tisha Sanchez, 30, is now in the Irving City Jail facing a capital murder charge. Her bond is set at $2,000,000.

Police say there were signs Sanchez may have been mentally unstable.

Tisha Sanchez (credit: Irving Police Department)

Hem Mehta described waking up early Sunday morning with a feeling something wasn’t right. Later, he looked outside and saw police officers at his neighbor’s door.

“At that point we realized something happened,” said Mehta.

Court documents show Sanchez called 911 that morning, telling dispatchers her son was unconscious or had passed away.

Then her sister also called, saying Sanchez told her demons made her sacrifice her son and that she needed to forgive her. She believes her sister suffocated her son with a pillow.

The Mehtas don’t have the heart to tell their 10 year old son what happened, only telling him Joevani is gone.

“He was a really good friend,” Mehta said.

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The two met about a year ago and quickly bonded.

“When I was outside doing some jump roping he was on the tree,” said Aaray Mehta, Joevani’s friend. “Then we started making friends.”

“I couldn’t sleep last night. He just came into my mind. This morning when I was going to the office I feel like he’s there and he’s waving at me. He was a really nice kid,” said Sabits Mehta.

The family said they are shaken by the loss and surprised to hear past concerns about Sanchez’s mental health.

Seven months ago, the way she was handling her son in a store caused shoppers to call 911.

Police say she resisted arrest, but there wasn’t enough evidence for abuse charges.

They instead took her to a hospital to get checked out.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigated, but closed the case a few weeks later.

Sanchez is now also facing an assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest charge for the incident at the store.

Joevani De La Pena went to school in Irving ISD.

“Our thoughts are with the family of an Irving ISD student who passed away this weekend. This is a tragic loss for our district and our community.  We are grieving for the loss of a young life, and we pray for the family and friends most affected by this loss,” said Irving ISD Superintendent of Schools Magda Hernandez in a statement Monday afternoon. “Our entire district extends heartfelt condolences to the family at this difficult time.”


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