Authorities: Arizona man hid mom’s death to collect benefits, pay for patent

Arizona man accused of hiding mom's death to collect benefits, pay for patent

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A San Tan Valley man is accused of burying his mom in the backyard to hide her death and collect her government benefits.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Daniel Shannon was arrested Wednesday, May 22, on charges of fraud and concealment of a body. The investigation is ongoing and the 66-year-old Shannon could face more charges.

The investigation began April 5, when someone reported the disappearance of Leonie Shannon. At the time, Daniel was the caregiver for his 97-year-old mother. The caller said Leonie had not been seen since December 2018.

The PCSO said Daniel first claimed his mom walked away from their home Dec. 21.

“He claimed this was not the first time his mother disappeared, adding that they just started getting her VA benefits and did not want to report her missing on the off chance that she returned home,” the PCSO said in a news release.

Authorities said Daniel's story changed multiple times during their investigation.

Daniel allegedly admitted his mom died on Dec. 21 and he decided to bury her in the backyard. The PCSO said he told them he did it so he could keep getting her Social Security and VA benefits.

He allegedly said he needed the money to pay for a patent on his invention.

“Our detectives did a great job on this case, and in bringing Mr. Daniels to justice,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said. “These types of cases are especially troublesome when the crimes involve family members.”

Leonie’s body was recovered on May 22 and a medical examiner will attempt to determine how she died.

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