League City police say John Scott Timler admits to burying his elderly mother in a shallow grave behind her home.
"I think everybody's very shocked," said neighbor Michelle Koch.
Neighbors who would often notice Timler's retired mom working in her yard, say they hadn't seen her in weeks, and they grew concerned.
Koch said, "I noticed the yard being unkempt for a while, and that kind of raised my suspicions last week. When I drove by, I thought maybe she had passed away and he was depressed."
Neighbors say besides seeing Timler with a few bags of mulch, they never noticed him digging a grave under the porch in his mom's backyard.
Investigators say workers at a bank branch in South Shore Harbor initiated the call, asking police to do a welfare check on the woman. Police say the bank reported suspicious activity on the woman's account. She couldn't be reached and they hadn't seen her in weeks.
"It was just devastating," said a neighbor.
This neighbor who didn't want to be identified said Timler was borrowing money a lot recently. She says he also kept changing up stories about his mom.
She said, "I asked about her whenever he would come over and he would say, 'Well, she's in bed. She's not feeling very well today.'"
And just last week the neighbor says Timler gave her a different excuse.
"She was in Michigan, visiting relatives," she recalled.
Now Timler, 54, is in jail, charged with forgery and abuse of a corpse. His bond is set at more than $100,000. Investigators are trying to determine whether the woman was murdered or died of natural causes.