A former Payson woman with an extensive criminal background, including charges of aggravated assault on a minor, has admitted to fatally shooting her 19-year-old son.
Lisa Sarytchoff, 45, told Mesa Police she shot her son, Alexander, during a domestic dispute June 7 at the family home on Ellis Street.
Sarytchoff is claiming self defense and told police that two witnesses were in the home at the time of the shooting.
"We are still searching for the witnesses to see if they confirm her story," said Mesa Police Det. Jerry Gissel. "The case remains under investigation."
Mesa detectives arrested Sarytchoff on a shoplifting warrant from Gila County and turned her over to Payson Police late on the afternoon of the shooting.
She was booked into the Payson Gila County jail and held until yesterday, Monday morning, when she was released on her own recognizance.
Gila County Sheriff's Sgt. Swede Carlson said he asked the suspect to remain at the jail until he could contact friends or relatives in Mesa to pick her up.
However, she refused and was later seen waiting at a local service station wearing only a jail-issued paper dress.
"We had some calls on her," Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said. "People were concerned."
Mesa police will submit their findings in the shooting to the Maricopa County Attorney's office and prosecutors will decide whether to file charges.
According to police reports, Sarytchoff's 9-year-old son was in the home at the time of the shooting and tried to revive his unconscious brother.
The boy, now in Child Protective Services custody, told police he heard the fatal shot and saw his mother run from the home.
Sarytchoff originally told police officers, who were responding to a 911 call, that she found her son in the home after hearing a gunshot while she was outdoors.
She later admitted she fired the shot that killed her son, Gissel said.
Gissel also said police have responded to the Sarytchoff home 16 times in the past year, some of the calls involving domestic violence.
Mesa officers arrested Alexander Sarytchoff on Nov. 10 after he smashed a chair and kicked in a bedroom door, police reports show.
In Payson, his mother has an extensive criminal history dating to 1997 when she was investigated for disorderly conduct.
A year later, Payson Police investigated charges of criminal trespassing, DUI and assault against her.
In 2002 and 2003, she was charged with threatening and intimidating, and the shoplifting charge for which she was arrested on a warrant June 7.
In 1997, she was charged with child/vulnerable adult abuse in Flagstaff Justice Court, and in 2002 she appeared in Gila County Superior Court to face charges of probation violation.
Court records indicate there have been 22 charges against Sarytchoff, 14 of them criminal -- the others are traffic.
Payson police records show Alexander Sarytchoff had at least two run-ins with the law when he was a minor.
The Sarytchoffs are believed to have moved from Payson to Mesa about two years ago.
In 2004, Sarytchoff's grandson, James Sarytchoff Jr., died at 2 and a half months of age.
Lisa Sarytchoff's ex-husband, Victor Sarytchoff, died July 29, 2002 in a one-vehicle rollover on the Beeline Highway north of the 260 turnoff to Camp Verde. He was 44 years old.
-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.