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Police recover bloody mask
Community mourns loss of an exceptional (role) model
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A murder suspect was reportedly dressed in a Halloween costume complete with a mask when he allegedly murdered his mother in the family’s northeast Manteca home.

A reliable source indicated Manteca Police found a mask smeared with the blood of Kathleen Karen McGehee, 55, after they arrested her 26-year-old son Tuesday at 1:30 a.m.

Dawson McGehee is charged with his mother’s murder on Halloween night and is facing arraignment this afternoon in the San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton at 1:30 p.m. He had been arrested by police as he was driving near North Main Street and Louise Avenue some seven hours after his mother’s body had been discovered in the family home on Golden Pond Drive.

Sources revealed that the former University of the Pacific student had been under the care of a therapist for the last year because of being plagued by a demon in his head.   He had worked as a waiter at the Macaroni Grill in Stockton to help with college expenses. He was living with buddies before moving back home within the last year.

Dawson was reportedly told by the therapist that he had to face his fears and face life head-on in the form of exposing himself to scary movies and costumes. The source close to the situation said he was wearing one of those costumes along with a Halloween mask at the time of his mother’s murder.  When the mask was found it was allegedly smeared with his mother’s blood.

A neighbor had been interviewed on a Sacramento television station saying she had talked to Dawson briefly when he came out of the Golden Pond Drive home Monday night quoting him as saying:  “You know, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”

The tight-knit family was admired by church and school families alike who voiced their admiration for the “sweet and caring” McGehee.

The McGehees reportedly lived in the Manteca community for more than 10 years having originally moved from the Bay Area city of San Leandro where husband Tom continues to commute to work.  Family members said he was on a business trip to China when he received the news.  He arrived back home Tuesday evening.

Their children attended Joshua Cowell School and Manteca High where Dawson played football. The kids participated in band while a daughter was the first Decathlon winner from Manteca High.

Members of Calvary Community Church said the family always sat together in Sunday School and were very involved in their religion before transferring to the Stockton Covenant Church where she was a staunch advocate for victims of abuse.   One woman recalled that when her elderly mother died Kathleen “Katie” McGehee was quick to bring food over for dinner for their family.

Before the family moved to the Union West subdivision north of Lathrop Road and east of Union Road they had lived across from Joshua Cowell School in the California Classics subdivision adjacent to Pestana and Louise avenues.

A family friend, Karen Pearsall, whose children went to Joshua Cowell Elementary and Manteca High with the McGehee kids, said she sees the death as a tragedy for the whole family.  Dawson was an excellent student and played football several years at MHS.

“The whole family is damaged from this and it’s so sad,” Pearsall said. “I remember Dawson as a smart kid with a great sense of humor with the spirit of a Huck Finn who would do little mischievous things to make a joke.  We all had good memories of Dawson.  I really feel badly for the family and especially for him.

“When people look at a tragedy, they look at a victim, but at this time you have to look at him too.  I would feel bad if everyone would make assumptions how bad this kid is without knowing him.  I am sad and sickened over the whole thing.  It makes you wonder how a good kid can do such a monstrous thing.”

Dawson McGehee remains in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp where he is being held without bail.