By Nick Janes
VALLEJO, Calif. (KOVR/CNN) - A California man is accused of hiding his father's body in order to collect his dad's money.
Police say the scheme worked for years, but hiding the victim's body eventually proved the ultimate undoing for the suspect.
When what was left of Richard Romer was discovered earlier this month, it was clear to deputies he had been dead for some time. They wore masks to cover up the awful stench.
"My sister had walked over there to where the red car is and she was like, wow, she could smell it from that far off," said neighbor Matt Kernan.
In a shocking revelation, Solano County detectives now say Richard's son, Joseph, concealed his dad's death for money. They believe Joseph and his then-girlfriend Sandeep Waloo, schemed to collect Richard's government and private pensions.
Investigators say they got away with it for two years.
"That's, that's pretty bad man. I can't believe someone would even think about doing that," said another neighbor, Matt Montgomery.
Deputies say the couple went to great lengths. Joseph allegedly carried his decomposing dad around in a box all the time, eventually stashing him outside a relative's house in Vallejo.
The family at that home wouldn't speak, but deputies say they noticed the smell in early December and called the police, but it isn't clear exactly how long the remains were hidden there.
Neighbors say the box was found along the side of the house, a disturbing discovery that eventually led investigators to arrest the man's own son.
The suspect's father was very sick prior to his death, but the exact cause of death has not been determined.