San Tan Valley man accused of burying his mom in the backyard to collect her benefits

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A San Tan Valley man is behind bars, accused of stealing his dead mother's government checks and burying her in his backyard.

Someone tipped off detectives, saying they hadn't seen 97-year-old Leonie Shannon in some time. Her son, 66-year-old Daniel Shannon, initially told detectives that his mother just walked away from home, but later admitted that she passed away on December 21, 2018.

According to officials with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Shannon decided to bury his mother in the backyard, instead of reporting her death, so that he could continue to receive her Social Security and VA benefits. Daniel said he needed the benefit to help pay for the patent on his invention.

Shannon's body was unearthed by detectives Wednesday afternoon, and Shannon's son is facing multiple charges.