Robert F. Friberg, 44, of Great Hill Road, Topsfield, was arrested last Friday after police responded to a report of a domestic incident involving Friberg and his 72-year-old mother, Priscilla, at the same address. A day later, Priscilla Friberg died at Boston Medical Center.

A Topsfield man remained in custody Wednesday as the Essex County District Attorney’s office investigates whether he should be charged for murdering his elderly mother, according to an Ipswich District Court document.

Robert F. Friberg, 44, of Great Hill Road, was arrested last Friday after police responded to a report of a domestic incident involving Friberg and his 72-year-old mother, Priscilla, at the same address. A day later, Priscilla Friberg died at Boston Medical Center.

“Topsfield and State Police, in conjunction with the medical examiners office, are investigating her death to determine whether it is connected to the alleged assault,” Essex County District Attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell said.

In his report, Topsfield Police Officer Shawn Frost wrote the victim claimed her son struck her with a telephone, causing a deep bruise on her left forearm. Frost then spoke to the son who admitted he had been drinking but denied hitting her.

The confrontation began, according to Frost, when Robert Friberg asked his mother for a ride to pick up a prescription. When she refused, he became enraged, shaking his fist in front of her face. Fearing for her safety, the victim picked up the phone to call the police. That’s when the suspect wrenched the phone from her hand and struck her with the receiver, according to the report.

“She stated that Robert then began screaming profanities at her and that she became scared and fled to a neighbor’s house,” Frost wrote.

Robert Friberg was arrested and charged by domestic assault and battery of a person over 60 and witness intimidation. A blood alcohol level test was administered at the station and it was determined that his blood alcohol concentration was .249. The legal blood alcohol content level in Massachusetts for driving a car is .08.

Robert Friberg was later arraigned at Ipswich District Court in Newburyport and transferred to the Middleton Jail where he was being held under $25,000 cash bail. Robert Friberg has no previous arrests for domestic assault and battery but has been charged three times for driving while under the influence of alcohol, according to a court official.

Frost wrote that by the time Robert Friberg was brought to the station for booking, Priscilla Friberg had been rushed to Beverly Hospital. Frost was later told that it appeared the victim may have suffered an aortic aneurysm. She was then transferred by helicopter to Boston Medical Center where she later died.

The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Asked whether additional charges might be levied against Robert Friberg, O’Connell said he didn’t want to speculate.

“We’ll let the investigation run its course,” O’Connell said.

A full autopsy with toxicology results, he said, could take “some time.”

In Frost’s report, he wrote that he spoke to Priscilla Friberg just days before her death at Masconomet Regional High School where she worked at Java City in the school’s cafeteria. In the presence of another co-worker, he suggested she take out a restraining order on her son. But according to Frost, she decided not to follow his advice saying her son, who had a history of drinking problems, had “no other place to go.”

Candace Waldron, executive director of Help for Abused Women and their Children (HAWC), said elderly victims of abuse often do not take out restraining orders.

“There’s often a fear that the perpetrator will become more violent, or they feel like that person is going to change,” Waldron said.

Waldron added that many elderly abuse victims feel powerless because it is the abuser who acts as their primary caregiver.

“The caregiver is needed to help out so the elder is really dependent,” Waldron added.

Police believe Robert Friberg had been living with his mother for three years and had recently sought treatment for alcohol abuse.

Waldron said a seemingly harmless injury could be potentially fatal to an elderly person.

“If she was frail, any kind of physical assault from a younger adult can be lethal, and that’s not always understood,” Waldron said.