A headless corpse has been found inside a fish tank at the home of a man missing for several weeks, police in San Francisco say.
Homeowner Brian Egg, 65, had been reported missing by his family and neighbours late last month.
Neighbours later reported suspicious activity at the house and police searched it with dogs, eventually making the gruesome discovery.
The body has not yet been positively identified, investigators added.
Police Commander Greg McEachern told reporters on Tuesday that an autopsy was being carried out and that the missing person’s case remained open.
When Mr Egg’s disappearance was first reported, officers called at his home in the South of Market district three times but received no response and saw no suspicious circumstances, a statement from San Francisco Police Department said.
But on 14 August neighbours raised the alarm after seeing a “private crime-scene cleaning truck” outside the building along with a suspicious person.
Police arrested the individual and entered the building. There was no sign of Mr Egg but investigators found evidence including cleaning products and “suspicious odours in the residence”.
The next day a more detailed search was carried out and human remains were found inside a fish tank in what Mr McEachern described as “a concealed area of the residence”.
Two suspects in the case were initially charged with homicide, fraud, theft, identity theft and elder abuse, but the charges were dismissed by prosecutors. One of those arrested remains in custody for a probation violation, officials said.
In the meantime, police are asking for any businesses or individuals who were contacted by someone purporting to be Mr Egg to come forward.