Tanya Byrd
Tanya Byrd (Facebook)

Bashid McLean, the New York man accused of killing his mother Tanya Byrd and beheading her before dismembering her body, may have done it for her new Samsung mobile phone.

Soon after murdering Byrd, 23-year-old McLean called up a phone company and told them to switch his own number to his mum's new cell phone, police have confirmed according to New York Daily News.

In an interview with the website, Byrd's sister Cassandra Mclean said; "To think that my sister was killed for a cellphone, it's hard to stomach. What kind of monster would do something like that?"

McLean, who was supposed to appear in court on Monday 4 March, did not show up for the hearing.

'He used to start fires for no reason'

In an earlier interview with DNAInfo, Cassandra McLean had said that Bashid suffers from schizophrenia and once told her "that demons followed him."

She also told the website that her nephew was placed in foster care as a child and that he held a long grudge against his mother for the same reason.

"He used to start fires for no reason at the group home where he lived," she said.

"Once, my father came and got him and he set a fire at my father's house. He's been troubled for a long time."

McLean began living with his family again only five years ago, and reportedly became insecure about Byrd's love. He thought Byrd loved her younger son, born with Down's Syndrome, more than she loved him, Cassandra McLean said.

"He was big-time jealous of the attention [the younger son] got," she said. "The only thing he wanted was the love of his mother. But he wasn't neglected. His mother gave him love."

Cassandra McLean added that her nephew, who has a 3-month-old son, was so desperate to get away with the murder that he even tried to trap his mother's former partner. On Tuesday morning, Bashid called Cassandra and told her that his mother had disappeared after meeting up with her ex-boyfriend.

"He was covering up his tracks," she said.

Byrd was reported missing by Bashid McLean on Monday morning when he told police that he has not been able contact her.

Byrd lived with her sons in Bronx, New York.

On Tuesday morning, a dog walker discovered Byrd's body parts stuffed inside a garbage bag. After further enquiries, a picture of McLean posing with his mother's mutilated head was found on his mobile phone.

William Harris, a 26-year-old friend of McLean's is also accused of helping his friend cover the crime. Both men are being held without bail.

READ: Tanya Byrd Murder: Bashid McLean, Who Posed with Mother's Severed Head, Says He Did 'Nothing Wrong'