PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix man has been arrested in connection to the murder of his mother.

According to Sgt. Mercedes Fortune with the Phoenix Police Department, officers found the body of 74-year-old Tina Topali inside a home near 12th Street and Indian School Road on Wednesday afternoon. 

[WATCH: Neighbors react to allegations Phoenix man murdered his mother]

Detectives found that there were traumatic injuries on Topali's body that may have been caused by a bladed object, Fortune said. Police were able to connect the Topali's son, 50-year-old Harlen Shelton, to her death and he was arrested.

Shelton appeared in front of a judge on Thursday. According to court paperwork, his brother called police and led them to where the body was located, which was in a bathroom, "wrapped in garbage bags, then wrapped in a comforter and tied with a rope." 

"I don't know what was going on that pushed him to this point. As weird as it may sound, I have some compassion for the whole situation and not understanding what happened and how this could've got this out of hand, it's really sad," said Dell Foster, who lives next door.

Foster said he would see Shelton out front gardening. He said on occasion, Shelton would express his frustrations with his mother. His mother, Topali, lived in the house behind Shelton's. 

"We would see her walking to and from the store maybe once a week, that kind of thing, out in the neighborhood getting exercise," Foster said. 

Topali was known in the neighborhood for having several cats. 

Shelton's brother told police that Shelton tried to get him to help hide the body. 

According to court paperwork, as Shelton was being taken into custody, he admitted that his mother had been in the bathroom for "2 to 3 days." He also stated, "I'm in big trouble because my mother died in the house and I tried to hide it," according to documents. 

Shelton was booked on homicide charges. 

A GoFundMe account has been set up by Topali's daughter to help pay for funeral expenses.

 


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