Authorities in Atlantic County don't believe the double murder of a New Jersey mother and her adult son inside their Hammonton home was random.
Instead the stabbing deaths of 64-year-old Diana Patterson and her 29-year-old son Ryan Patterson in their Madison Avenue home was likely perpetrated by someone who knew at least one of the victims.
"I am confident in being able to say this was not a random act of violence and the citizens of Hammonton should be made aware of that," said Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel.
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Prosecutors were close to filing charges in the stabbing deaths as of Wednesday night but didn't have any exact timetable for a possible arrest, they said.
The Major Crimes Unit arrived at the Patterson house on Madison Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 to find 64-year-old Diana Patterson and her 29-year-old son Ryan Patterson dead with stab wounds.
Ryan had apparently called 9-1-1 call around 5:30 a.m. that morning as the crime was unfolding, sources told NBC Philadelphia.
Ryan was found in a bedroom while his mother was found in the kitchen near the back door, sources said.
An autopsy report revealed that both victims died from multiple sharp force trauma wounds. Both of their deaths were ruled homicides -- Ryan suffered more than 20 stab wounds and Diana more than 10, investigators said.
A love triangle was being investigated as a possible motive for the murders, sources said.
Neighbors told NBC Philadelphia that Diana and her son were the only people living in the house.
“I don’t know who would even do that,” Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Amanda Dirienzi said. “His mom and him are such sweethearts. They would give you the shirt off their back.”
Ryan was a popular motocross driver in South Jersey.
"Ryan was true moto to the bone as he always talked about everything from bike setups to the track and everything in between," said a tribute posted to MXPTV.com. "You can always see him at the track helping other riders out and throw out that million dollar smile when you run into him. He’ll be deeply missed here at MXPTV and at all motocross tracks around. RIP Ryan."
Hundreds gathered at a vigil that friends put together for Ryan and his mom at the Atco Raceway.
"I hope they catch whoever did it and I'm very concerned about the rest of the family," said friend Mike Jakoweiczuk.
Diana had two other grown sons and a daughter, according to friends.
Neighbors of the Pattersons were scared that such a horrific crime could happen in their quiet neighborhood.
"It’s very scary and sad to know they lost their lives so horribly," neighbor Lynda Paulus said.
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