The son spoke to News 8 and claims his mother died of natural causes.
Sixty-six-year-old Rand Washburn says he's relieved. The circumstances of his mother's death are finally coming to light.
In January, police got a tip that Washburn's mother was buried illegally in the backyard of her Clairemont home. The body of 73-year-old Emily Fox had been buried there since 1994.
Washburn, a former UCSD history lecturer, never told authorities his mother was dead.
Now, he's facing felony grand theft charges because for the past 15 years, he continued cashing his mother's state and federal retirement checks.
The grand total - more than $300,000.
Emily Fox worked as a secretary for decades at Marston Middle School in Clairemont.
The medical examiner was unable to determine the cause of death, because they only had skeletal remains to work with.
"When she passed away it was very difficult for him and he did what he did," said Defense Attorney Knut Johnson.
Washburn's attorney, Knut Johnson, says there is no evidence whatsoever that the woman was killed by her son.
"There was no violence. No physical altercation. Nothing. The medical examiner confirms that," continued Knut.
San Diego police are not pursuing homicide charges.
"I think he feels pretty awful about it. It's obviously a difficult situation. It's unusual. It's terribly embarrassing," added Knut.
Washburn will be arraigned Monday and faces up to three years in prison. His attorney is hoping for a plea bargain and he says that his client wants to pay back the $300,000.