VALLEJO (CBS 5) -- A Vallejo man and his girlfriend face multiple charges after authorities said they hid his father's dead body for at least two years and collected his pension checks.
Residents in a Vallejo neighborhood recently noticed a smell coming from the backyard of a home on Warren Avenue.
"My sister had walked over there and got about to where the red car is and she was like, 'Wow.' She could smell it from that far off," said neighbor Matt Kernal.
According to authorities, the gruesome smell turned out to be the badly decomposed body of 56-year-old Richard Romer.
"Well it's something I've never come across in 22 years," said Lt. Bradley DeWall of the Solano County Sheriff's Department.
Richard Romer, a drifter, had been dead for two years. Authorities said his son, 22-year-old Joseph Romer, did not tell anyone. Instead, he allegedly hid the body in a large box that was stashed in the backyard of the home, which belongs to one of his relatives.
Authorities said Joseph Romer and his girlfriend Sandeep Waloo began collecting the dead man's money, thousands of dollars in pension checks over two years.
Relatives at the home did not respond to CBS 5's request for comment Wednesday night. According to authorities, they did not know Richard Romer had died and only realized there was a body in the backyard when it began to smell.
Joseph Romer and Sandeep have been arrested on suspicion of theft, elder abuse, and improperly moving a deceased object, authorities said. No charges have been filed in Richard Romer's death.
Investigators said Richard Romer was severely ill before he died, but the cause of death has not been determined. The case remains under investigation.
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