Authorities are searching for former NFL player Sergio Brown after, they say, his mother’s body was found Saturday evening in a creek less than 100 yards from her home.
Police lights and crime scene tape are unfamiliar sights for residents of the Chicago suburb of Maywood.
But Carlos Cortez told CBS New Chicago his “whole block was filled with family and police” Saturday.
Cortez was curious about what was going on. He later learned there was concern surrounding his next-door neighbor, 73-year-old Myrtle Brown, and her son 35-year-old son, a former NFL safety.
“Her family came and knocked on the door and was looking for her ’cause they put out a police report because she was missing for 72 hours,” he said.
Just hours into the Saturday search with no signs of Myrtle or Sergio, police decided to widen the search area.
That’s when Maywood Police found Myrtle’s body.
On Sunday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified her cause of death as multiple injuries from assault.
“Myrtle, she was an outstanding woman, and I’m hoping she’s in the right place and she’s with God. Like I said, I never would’ve expected this in a million years. You only watch this on TV. And to know this happened next door, it’s a tragedy,” Cortez said.
While police continue searching for Sergio, neighbors are assisting with a timeline.
Cortez told CBS News Chicago he last saw the two Thursday in person. And he says police saw something else on his Ring doorbell camera.
“They seen him taking out the trash, and they seen him have a bonfire where he burned all her clothes,” he said.
Cortez says family members told him Sergio wasn’t himself the last few months and they described him as “out of his mind.”
He added that police have been called to the home before.
“I just hope that the family has closure, and I’ll be praying for them. I hope the family gets through this. And I’ll keep them in mind in my prayers,” Cortez said.
Myrtle’s son Nick Brown released a statement on Facebook saying his mother always told him tough times don’t last, while also telling his brother Sergio he loves him and wants him to return home.
Sergio Brown first signed in the NFL with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2010. After that, he played with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Buffalo Bills until 2016.