A 24-year-old Texas man is behind bars in connection with the death of his father, whose decomposing body was discovered in a bedroom covered in salt and Odor Eater foot powder.
Skye McMillon was initially charged last week with tampering with physical evidence in the death of his 60-year-old father, Steven Nurse. But, on Monday, he was charged with murder, according to Mindy Montford, first assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
“Once our office consulted with the medical examiner, we authorized murder charges,” Montford tells PEOPLE. “According to our consultation there appeared to be blunt force trauma to the head.”
Nurse was found dead in his Travis County home, Montford says.
Montford says that at the time of his arrest, McMillon was on probation for aggravated assault for hitting his father with a shovel while he was asleep in April 2011.
McMillon, who has not entered a plea, is being held in Travis County Jail on a $600,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 9. His lawyer, Keith Lauerman, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The case came to light on July 23 when deputies received a 911 call to check on the welfare of Nurse, who had not shown up to work for several days and was not responding to phone calls, texts or Facebook messages, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.
Deputies found McMillon, who lived with his father, at a nearby shopping mall after they tracked Nurse’s phone to the location. When asked about his father’s whereabouts, McMillon allegedly told the deputies that his father was ill and he dropped him off at a Seton Hospital in Austin two days earlier, the affidavit reads.
Deputies said they checked local hospitals but no hospital reported that Nurse was a patient.
Deputies spoke to McMillon again and he gave them permission to search their home.
Inside the home, deputies discovered Nurse’s “badly decomposed” body partly covered with a comforter, a blanket and towels on the floor in a downstairs bedroom. Also, deputies “observed what appeared to be salt and a white powder sprinkled over the body and coverings,” the affidavit reads. “Affiant observed two salt containers on a dresser in the bedroom near the body. A container of Odor Eater foot powder was consistent with the powder found on the body.”
Deputies also found several candles on a table near the body and on the floor in the hallway just outside the bedroom.
Law enforcement officers also discovered traces of blood in the living room leading to the bedroom where Nurse was found as well as a bloody area rug folded on the bed, and Nurse’s work identification card, safety glasses and towels covered in blood.
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In a trashcan outside the house, deputies found a black wallet with Nurse’s current Texas driver’s license inside a trash bag along with more blood soaked towels.
‘I Need to Help My Son’
Nurse’s brother, Tom Nurse told the Austin American-Statesman that his brother had been taking care of McMillon for the last few years and that his nephew had been diagnosed with manic depressive disorder with psychosis after the 2011 attack on his father.
“Steve displayed an amazing amount of fatherly love,” he said. “He was aware his life was in danger, but he said, ‘I need to help my son.’”
Tom Nurse said that his brother didn’t think his son could get proper treatment at a facility and he chose to take care of McMillon himself, the paper reported.
Lauerman told the American-Statesman that “there were substantial efforts by everyone in 2011, including the court, defense, prosecutor and parents, to find the right solution to the situation,” he said. “The latest accusation is shocking and disheartening.”