Former NFL player Sergio Brown was arrested Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his mother, Maywood, Illinois, police said in a statement.
Brown, 35, has been missing since last month, when the body of his mother, Myrtle Brown, 73, was found near her home in suburban Chicago.
He was detained in San Diego as he re-entered the United States from Mexico and is awaiting extradition to Maywood to face murder charges, police said.
A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told that Mexican law enforcement officials have been aware of Brown’s whereabouts since at least September 19. first reported Brown’s arrest. Mexican law enforcement deported him after authorities in Illinois obtained an arrest warrant in connection with his mother’s death, sources said.
San Diego Sheriff’s Department inmate records show Brown was taken into custody by the agency Wednesday morning on a felony fugitive warrant.
The former NFL player’s arrest stemmed from the discovery of his mother’s body on Sept. 16 after relatives notified police they were unable to find or contact her or her son, Maywood police said in a news release. Her body was found near a creek behind her home in Maywood, about 11 miles from Chicago, according to the department.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office determined she died from assault-related injuries and the manner of death was ruled a homicide, spokesperson Natalia Derevyanny said.
Brown played defensive back at Notre Dame before signing with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He played seven seasons in the NFL with the Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
The day after his mother was found dead, Sergio Brown’s brother took to social media to ask for help in finding him.
“My brother Sergio is still missing,” Nick Brown wrote on Instagram. “If anyone knows where he is, I want him to know that I love you and please come home.”
“This is a sad but hopeful time and we will get through this together,” Nick Brown wrote. “My mom always told me, ‘The hard times don’t last,’ and our last conversation about the hard times being temporary was a beacon of hope for me.
“Mom, thank you for being strong, caring, hard-working, funny, interesting, and for saving my art. I won’t let you down.”
Maywood police said last month they were aware of at least one video circulating on social media that appeared to show Sergio Brown spouting “fake news” in a tropical setting and claiming he thought his mother was on vacation. It’s unclear where or when the video was filmed, and police have not confirmed to that the man in the video is Sergio Brown.
Last week, Myrtle Brown’s family issued a statement through attorney Christian Conway calling on authorities to move forward with the investigation into her death, saying there was enough evidence to make an arrest.
“We implore law enforcement agencies, especially the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office, to work diligently and thoroughly to uncover the truth about Myrtle Jean Simmons-Brown and hold her accountable. No family should have to endure the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one. Uncertainty,” the family said.
Family members also said they have had no contact with Sergio Brown since his disappearance.
“We continue to pray for his health and advocate for his immediate and safe return to the United States. Let us work together to transform this tragic loss into a force for positive change and justice,” the statement read.
“Myrtle was a beautiful, loving, inspiring soul who made everyone around her feel important. With her infectious smile and personality, the loss of Myrtle not only changed our lives, but An unspeakable void has been left in our community,” her family said.
Neighbors praised Myrtle Brown to affiliate WBBM amid the search for Sergio Brown.
“Myrtle, she was an outstanding woman, and I hope she’s in the right place and is with God,” her next-door neighbor Carlos Cortez told WBBM. “I never thought in a million years something like this would happen.”
Neighbors described Myrtle as well-dressed, outgoing and fond of dancing.
“Just a lovely lady. Very soft-spoken and outgoing. Just a happy person. She had such a great personality,” neighbor Kevin Grayer told affiliate WLS.
“She didn’t deserve to be treated like this,” Greer said. “She was too good of a person to die like this. It’s really sad.”