NORWOOD - The suspect charged in the beating death Friday of a 78-year-old Needham man was suffering from mental health problems this summer, according to a missing person report his wife filed with Norwood police in August.
William B. Dunn, 41, of Norwood, a father of three young boys, was voluntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of Norwood Caritas Carney Hospital in August after making paranoid statements to his wife, the Aug. 30 report said. His wife filed the report after Dunn walked away from the hospital.
Dunn is accused of bludgeoning Robert J. Moore Sr. to death with a bat-like object, after an argument between the two in Moore's basement, said a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation. Dunn, working for Quincy-based Mass Irrigation Co., had been installing a lawn sprinkler system at the residence.
The homicide touched off a manhunt that led to a lockdown of local public schools. The chaos was intensified by a standoff at a local pizza restaurant. Police said the two cases were unrelated.
In a release about the pizza parlor, police said they were called shortly after 3 p.m. about a man with a gun causing a disturbance in the
But police secured the Needham Common area and contacted the man, who surrendered. No weapon was found, and witnesses later said he had been motioning as if he had a weapon.
The man was identified as Hillel Neuer. Police said he was charged with disorderly conduct.
Kenneth Bandler, spokesman at the national headquarters of the American Jewish Committee in New York, said Neuer is executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva-based affiliate of the AJC.
"He's an internationally recognized human rights" advocate, Bandler said last night by telephone. "He's the nicest person you will ever meet."
Neuer was visiting the United States at the invitation of Yale University and traveled to Needham for private meetings with local supporters. He planned to observe the Sabbath then address the group today, Bandler said.
"It's pretty clear he was the unfortunate victim of a profound mix-up," Bandler said. "We're hopeful all this will be sorted out."
On Friday, Dunn was captured in a marsh alongside Route 128 by a trooper with a dog. He is to be arraigned tomorrow at Dedham District Court. Calls to Robert Griffin, his lawyer, were not returned.
In the weeks before his admission to the hospital, Dunn told his wife, Susan, that "he stumbled upon a stock scandal and there were people after him," according to the report. Dunn told her husband that he was being paranoid, which seemed to calm him for a few weeks.
But on Aug. 29, she again became concerned about his mental state. She called for an ambulance. Dunn went willingly to the hospital, where he was admitted to the psychiatric ward.
While visiting Dunn at the hospital that day, his wife and sister, Elizabeth, left the area for a short time so a social worker could meet with him. When they returned, he was gone.
His wife sought help from police. He was found the next day walking near a cemetery in Norwood, and he returned to the hospital, again willingly, police said.
On Friday, Dunn also allegedly assaulted the victim's daughter-in-law. Nancy Moore was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman would not comment yesterday on Moore's condition or acknowledge she was there.
Nancy Moore's father, Edward Lanigan of Needham, said his son-in-law told him "that she's coming along." But, he said, "I don't know too much about what is going on there."
The pastor at St. Bartholomew's Church in Needham, where the family worshiped, declined to say much about the Moore family, citing a request for privacy. "He was very, very devoted to his family," said the Rev. Phil McGaugh. "This is a real tragedy."
Moore was very active in the monthly breakfasts at the church, said Selectman James G. Healy. And Moore's wife, Fran, had devoted more than 6,000 volunteer hours over the past 10 years at a hospital in town.
In Norwood yesterday, neighbor Paul Hughey, 46, said Susan Dunn had returned to her Cape-style home to gather some things and then left shortly thereafter.
John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report.