Authorities said they also found her 25-year-old nephew, Orlando Becerra, walking out of the bathroom with blood on his body and holding a cordless phone that was also stained with blood.
Officers arrested Becerra while emergency workers flew his aunt to a Modesto hospital. She died from her injuries Sunday morning.
Action News spoke with one neighbor who said Maria Branco was a kind woman and a good friend. "She was a sweet...so kind," said neighbor Linda Andrus.
Police said Becerra has a history of mental illness, and he may have believed his aunt was hurting his father. Becerra is now facing murder charges.