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Arizona mom, daughter confess to 2017 murder after body found in house next door, police say

The pair made their confession after a neighbor in Prescott called to say he hadn't seen the elderly woman for some time.

After police discovered the body of a woman in a home on Tuesday, an Arizona woman and her daughter confessed to killing their family's 77-year-old matriarch in 2017 and cashing her checks monthly since her death, police said.

Image: Tara Aven
This undated photo provided by the Yavapai County Jail shows Tara Aven, 46.Yavapai County Jail via AP

Tara Aven, 46, and her daughter, Briar Aven, 24, were arrested Tuesday and face multiple charges, police in Prescott said in a statement.

Police discovered the body of a 77-year-old woman after a concerned resident reported that he had not seen Sandra Aven, 77, in some time.

Tara and Briar Aven live next door to Sandra Aven, and when police asked them about Sandra's whereabouts, they discovered inconsistencies in the women's accounts, police said. Briar Aven is said to have initially told officers that her grandmother was out of town.

After interviewing the women, police entered a home and found a body they believe is that of Sandra Aven, Prescott police said.

Police said the woman has yet to be identified and they did not say how she died.

"Subsequent interviews with Briar Aven and Tara Aven resulted in confessions to the murder of Sandra Aven in late 2017," police said in the statement, adding that in the time after their relative’s death they began cashing monthly payments intended for Sandra Aven.

Image: Briar Aven
This undated photo provided by the Yavapai County Jail shows Briar Aven, 24.Yavapai County Jail via AP

Yavapai County Jail records show the women were booked Tuesday afternoon.

Penny Cramer, administrative assistant to the Yavapai County Attorney, said Wednesday that both were booked in on initial charges that include first-degree premeditated murder, tampering with evidence and fraudulent schemes. Initial charges can sometimes change.

Briar Aven was being held on no bond, and bail was set at a $1 million cash-only bond for Tara Aven, Cramer said. Both were in jail Wednesday, the sheriff’s department said.

Prescott Lead Officer David Fuller said Wednesday that police believe the pair cashed checks including Social Security payments and payments from a rental property owned by Sandra Aven. He said the case is still under investigation.