Cesar Sayoc's family's lawyer says Sayoc is "very sick" and estranged from his own family.
"They believe he’s been in need of medical care for a long time and they’re sad that people had to become frightened over this," said Ron Lowy, who represents Sayoc's mom and relatives.
Lowy represented Sayoc when he was charged with calling in a threat to FPL in 2002, but he said he never would've thought Sayoc would be accused of sending pipe bombs in packages to prominent Democrats. He said Sayoc did not show signs of being physically violent nor was he politically charged at the time.
"I knew he was ill," he said. "I knew he was ill when I represented him 20 years ago, but there are different levels of illnesses. We saw someone who was limited. He seemed to have some problems with IQ. He certainly was immature."
Sayoc lists an apartment in Biscayne Cove in Aventura as his primary residence, which police searched on Friday.
But Lowy said the apartment belongs to his mom and Sayoc hasn't talked to her or been there in three years.
“The mother thinks it’s very sad," Lowy said. "He’s been very sick. They’ve tried to get him treated. He’s refused to even be evaluated all these years. He’s told his mother that he hates her. That was their last communications.”
Sayoc's mom wasn't home while law enforcement searched her apartment because she had a pre-planned surgery and was in the hospital Friday morning. She found out about her son's arrest when she woke up from surgery.
"She just got out of surgery," Lowy said. "She just heard her son has been arrested for a heinous crime. She feels horrified. She’s angry at him. She’s hurt. She’s sad. She’s emotional. She’s shocked."
The Aventura police chief deemed the apartment in Biscayne Cove safe Friday evening.
“This is a family that loves their community. loves Aventura, loves Florida, loves America. His mother happens to be a Democrat," Lowy said. "They’re in shock by their son’s behavior.”