LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — A Lake Wales family is devastated after a 16-year-old boy was murdered by his own father, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

In a Monday press conference, Judd said Stephen Thomas Rodda, 37, killed his son, Stephen Lee Rodda, with an angle grinder — a type of power tool used for cutting, grinding, and polishing objects.

According to the sheriff, the victim’s grandfather, 67-year-old Thomas Rodda, returned to his home at about 11 a.m. Monday after visiting his wife in rehab.

There, he encountered the suspect outside his mobile home.

“His quote was, ‘I wouldn’t go in there if I was you, I killed someone. You may need to call the police,'” Judd said.

Murder suspect Stephen Thomas Rodda (Credit: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff said Thomas Rodda thought his son was just speaking in an odd manner, but when he entered his mobile home, he found his grandson dead in the dining room area.

“It breaks our heart,” Judd said. “There aren’t adequate words to explain how horrific this event is.”

Authorities said Stephen Thomas Rodda fled from the scene, but deputies caught him about a mile away on Highway 60.

An affidavit said Stephen Thomas Rodda told deputies that his son died years ago and other conflicting statements concerning his children.

During the course of the interview, the suspect showed no remorse or concern for the killing of his son.

According to Judd, Stephen Thomas Rodda had lived in various states like Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington D.C. before showing up in Lake Wales about a month ago. Jail records showed that the suspect also has an extensive arrest record in Polk County.

“There was even an outstanding warrant for Stephen Thomas Rodda in South Carolina, but South Carolina would not extradite so he was not able to be arrested,” the sheriff said, later explaining that this is not uncommon when the warrant is for a minor charge.

Judd said Stephen Thomas Rodda had a history of methamphetamine use since he was in high school and was prone to psychotic episodes.

In contrast, the victim, Stephen Lee Rodda, was described as a “stand-up, stellar young man.”

According to the sheriff, Stephen Lee Rodda was an 11th grader at Frostproof Middle-Senior High School who was training to be an electrician.

“That was his dream in life,” Judd said.

Stephen Rodda, the victim in this case (Photo provided by Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

He said the 16-year-old was living with his grandfather to help him out while his grandmother recovered in rehab. He was also scheduled to work at Burger King next week so he could earn money for a car.

“Our prayers are with the family, and I want you to know that the world lost a great young man today,” Judd said. “We lost a great young man, and we’ve got an evil, evil man in custody, and we’re going to do our best to see he spends the rest of his life in prison.”

This is the second case of filicide, a homicide in which a parent kills their own child, that has happened in Polk County in about a week.

The previous murder involved Brandy Hutchins, 43, who deputies said murdered her two children on Aug. 27 before taking her own life during a custody dispute.

“I can’t remember it happening twice in eight days,” Judd said, reflecting on the violence he’s seen in his career in law enforcement.