They say Ramona Yungara was known for her singing voice, her tamales and for her routine.
"Thursday is our trash pick-up. She always put her trash out the day before, and by Friday it hadn't been put away, and she never does that," said Viki Williams, a neighbor at the Royal Holiday Mobile Home Estates.
Yungara's 41-year-old son, Francisco Ramon Martinez, has been charged with her murder.
On Saturday, a property manager went to the mobile home the two shared to check on the 78-year-old who had not been seen for several days.
Hemet police say Martinez answered the door crying and covered in blood.
Detectives have no disclosed the cause of death nor motive. An autopsy is pending.
"It just shocked me totally and completely," said Angie Israel, a longtime friend and neighbor. "She was a very beautiful lady."
Israel says just days prior to the murder, Yungara and her son came to her home to pray.
Martinez was going through a difficult time at work and was depressed.
"He was really sad," Israel said. "She was very upset. She wanted to get him help."
But to others, Martinez appeared helpful and generous.
He would often provide free haircuts to the seniors and was around for games of dice or pool.
The retirement community even elected Martinez to serve on their board as a director.
"It totally shocked us all," said neighbor Dawn Salcido. "I just can't believe it, he's just really gentle. Really nice soul."