A Santa Rosa man is accused of fatally shooting his mother in her Mendocino County home and setting it on fire afterwards to cover up the crime.

On the morning of February 20, authorities responded to a house fire on the 39000 block of Little River Airport Road in Mendocino County's Little River, which is small town along the coast about 10 miles south of Fort Bragg, per SFGate. They found that the 4-story home and a car out front were on fire, but the resident, 75-year-old Linda Mercurio, was missing.

Mendocino Fire Department volunteers and local sheriff's deputies were unable to access the structure because it was on the brink of collapse from the heat of the fire, according to a Mendocino County Sheriffs’ Office press release.

Meanwhile, officers discovered Mercurio’s son, 39-year-old Fletcher Pinkham of Santa Rosa, in the surrounding woods “in an altered state,” seeming to need medical attention. They also found firearms and ammunition, and detained Pinkham.

Investigators believe that a “violent interaction” had occurred between Pinkham and his mother, based on the evidence on the scene and statements from Pinkham.

According to the suspect, he fatally shot his mother, and "the fire was intentionally set to destroy evidence and conceal the violent nature of the crime committed against Mercurio."

Pinkham now faces homicide charges, among others, and is currently being held at the Mendocino County Jail on a $1,000,000 bail.

Police had to wait three days for the charred rubble to cool so they could safely access it, according to the statement. They then brought in crime scene investigators to locate human remains in the debris, which they believe to be Mercurio.

We'll update this story as more information becomes available.

Feature image of Fletcher Pinkham via Mendocino County Sheriff.