On Sunday (Sept. 17), the Maywood Police Department in Cook County, Illinois announced the discovery of 73-year-old Myrtle Brown’s badly beaten body. She was the mother of 35-year-old former NFL player Sergio Brown, who is missing, and was found next to a creek behind her suburban home, approximately 15 miles from Downtown Chicago, Huff Post reports. As confirmed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Myrtle sustained injuries from a physical assault. The Maywood PD opened a missing persons inquiry and a separate homicide investigation.

On Saturday (Sept. 16), at approximately 3 a.m., family members told Sheila Simmons, Myrtle’s sister, that her nephew and sibling failed to respond to phone calls and text messages. She last spoke with Myrtle on Thursday (Sept. 14). She then visited the home and noticed that something was wrong. After the family contacted the police, Maywood PD “initiated a missing person report and began making attempts to locate both individuals,” authorities said in a news release. Sheila and the police searched the creek, but it took two separate inspections to find the body.

Without further information, the police can’t name a suspect. Nick Brown, the athlete’s brother, made the following plea on social media: “My brother Sergio is still missing. If anyone knows where he is, I want him to know that I love you and please come home.”

About his mother, he stated, “It’s a sad but hopeful time, and we will all get through this together. Mom always told me, ‘Tough times don’t last,’ and our last conversation about tough times being temporary is my beacon of hope. Mom, thank you for being strong, caring, diligent, fancy, funny, and for saving my art. I won’t let you down.”

Sergio played seven seasons and 94 games in the NFL between 2010 and 2016 with the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.

The Maywood PD requested that any member of the public with information about Sergio or the events leading up to the death of his mother and his disappearance call the anonymous tip line at (708) 450-1787 or lead investigator Dennis Diaz at (708) 368-4131.