A 37-year-old Dos Palos woman told investigators she killed her mother earlier this month, stabbing the woman nearly two dozen times, as part of a “satanic” sacrifice, according to reports from investigators obtained by the Merced Sun-Star.
Melissa Anne Bal, who is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Oct. 11 slaying of her mother, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether she is mentally fit to stand trial, a Merced County court commissioner ordered Wednesday.
Reports from investigators paint a chilling picture of the night 55-year-old Lydia Marie Bal was stabbed at least 20 times while asleep in her Dos Palos home. The reports also detail accounts from family members and others describing Bal as a troubled woman with a history of mental illness and drug use.
Lydia Bal was found lying face-down in a pool of blood inside a fifth-wheel trailer in the 21000 block of Highway 33 in Dos Palos after Melissa Bal called 9-1-1 and reported that she had killed her mother.
Melissa Bal told a California Highway Patrol dispatcher that she killed her mother by cutting her throat and stabbing her and said “she did not have control of herself.” She also told investigators she “sacrificed her mother” and the slaying was part of a “satanic practice,” but she refused to elaborate, according to reports from investigators.
She also told the dispatcher she has a history of mental illness, including depression.
Bal told investigators her mother was asleep when Bal decided to kill her. She said she took an 8-inch silver stainless steel kitchen knife from a drawer and went into her mother’s room. She said her mother woke up and asked Bal what she was doing, according to reports.
“Melissa did not reply to Lydia and proceeded to stab Lydia at least once in the stomach,” reports say. “Melissa agreed that Lydia was telling her to stop in an attempt to beg for her life. Melissa said she fought back against Lydia’s self-defense attempts and viciously attacked Lydia by stabbing Lydia wherever she could.”
The struggle eventually spilled out of the bedroom and into the living room and kitchen area.
“During the struggle, Melissa did not say anything to Lydia. She only continued to stab her,” reports say. “Melissa said she stabbed Lydia until Lydia died.”
Bal told police she stabbed her mother numerous times and cut her throat, reports state. She said she didn’t “feel anything” during the attack, and that “it was a calling to kill her.”
Neighbors also said they heard a woman screaming that she had killed her mother. One man told investigators he spoke with a woman who had blood on her legs and she told him “I just killed my mother, I have mental issues.”
Investigators said they arrived on scene and found Melissa Bal covered in blood. Also, Bal “appeared to be calm and did not say much” as she was handcuffed, according to reports.
According to reports, Bal told authorities she used a variety of illegal drugs in the past, and had taken pills and consumed five beers the night before.
A family member who believed Bal had mental issues told police that Bal had been making troubling statements of a sexual nature the previous night, according to reports. The family member also reported Bal had previously made statements such as “she would talk to God and God would talk back to her,” and satanic comments.
Bal reported that she has a history of mental breakdowns and was prescribed anti-depressants last December, but she stopped taking them in March because she “felt better.” But Bal said she was “sober-minded” during the attack, the reports say.
The family recently moved to Dos Palos from the Gilroy area, authorities said.
Bal was in custody Wednesday at the John Latorraca Correction Center without bail, according to jail records. She has yet to enter a plea.
She is due back in court Nov. 16.