A 97-year-old woman who died in December was buried by her son in her backyard -- all because he wanted to keep cashing her monthly benefit checks, Arizona authorities said.
Leonie Shannon’s body was unearthed Wednesday in San Tan Valley pursuant to a search warrant, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Daniel Shannon, 66, was charged with fraud and improper disposal of his mother’s body, the news release said.
“Our detectives did a great job on this case, and in bringing Mr. Daniels to justice,” Sheriff Mark Lamb said. “These types of cases are especially troublesome when the crimes involve family members.”
Detectives were tipped off to the alleged scheme by a person who was concerned the mother hadn't been seen in some time, FOX10 Phoenix reported.
Shannon initially said the woman wandered off and never returned, but then allegedly admitted she passed away on Dec. 21, according to the station.
The sheriff’s office says Shannon decided not to report her death and bury her in the backyard so he could continue to cash the checks she was drawing from Social Security and the Veterans Administration, the station reported.
Shannon allegedly told detectives he needed to keep getting the benefit money in order to help pay for a patent on his invention, the news release said.
The sheriff’s office offered no information on the invention.