A man has been arrested in a homicide investigation of his mother.
27-year-old Darrien Howard is charged with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the 4th degree.
Howard was located and arrested in Endicott and then lodged in the Onondaga County Justice Center.
A family member found the victim, 54-year-old Valerie Crowder, dead in her home, Thursday morning, authorities said. Officers responded to 144 Holland Street on the city's southwest side around 11:49 a.m. They listed the death as suspicious.
During an investigation, numerous people were interviewed and a neighborhood canvass was conducted and search warrants executed. Authorities found no forced entry and Crowder’s car missing, so they quickly focused their investigation on Howard. He was arrested in Endicott.
Crowder worked in the Syracuse City School District for decades, most recently as a teaching assistant at Webster Elementary School in Syracuse.
“Mrs. Crowder was a long time employee of the Syracuse City School District. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time," the Syracuse City School District said in a statement.
Friends remember her as a good-hearted person who was a joy to be around.
"She was always up to something and fooling with someone,” said Patricia Floyd-Echols, a long-time friend and the Salem Hyde Elementary School Principal. “She always had a smile on her face and was laughing about something, and so that's how I have a picture of her in my mind. That's how I will remember her."
Crowder and Howard lived together, but he threatened violence in the past. She had an order of protection against her son.
“There was a request by victim that he not be incarcerated,” Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said. “She was very, very adamant about that. [She was] a very, very decent woman who loved her son very, very much."
The investigation is still ongoing and police ask anyone who may have information to call the Homicide Tip Line at (315) 442-5223.