Neighbors Call Backyard Burial “Creepy”

Shocked neighbors reacted to news that detectives believe they know who was found buried in a Clairemont backyard on Wednesday. 

"I walk my dog by here all the time it's just kind of creepy, people buried in the backyard," neighbor Diana Hartman said.

San Diego police homicide investigators believe they are the remains are those of an elderly woman whose son still lives at the home.  According to property records, the woman who owned the home is Emily M. Fox. Detectives would not say if she is the mother of Rand Washburn, 65, but they did say that a family friend told them his mother was buried in the backyard 12 to 15 years ago. 

Investigators believe Fox died of natural causes but are awaiting autopsy results to confirm how she actually died. 

Neighbors said Washburn is a retired professor who is on the board of directors at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum at Balboa Park. Several neighbors were contacted by NBC, but none of them remembered what happened to Fox, though some said they assumed she had passed away more than a decade ago.  

"Nobody had questioned anything, nothing at all,"  neighbor Tina Bird said.  "She did have a million cats, and she'd feed them at the front porch."

Bird says she remembers years ago when Washburn moved into the home.

"He used to take care of his mom, he was very quiet, ignored the neighbors," Bird said.

The home is next door to one owned by retired Harbor Police officer Dennis Morrison.  He said he never knew the woman who lived there and he never saw anything suspicious.

Investigators are not calling the incident a criminal investigation, but they did say that could change once the autopsy tests are completed.

"I had no idea anything could've happened to her, he was such a private person," neighbor Betty Baseman said.

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