Illinois man arrested for allegedly burying his mother, sister in backyard

An Illinois man suspected of hiding the deaths of his mother and sister for nearly a year after their bodies were found buried in the backyard of their cluttered feces and urine-filled home has been arrested on felony charges, according to police.

Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion announced Thursday that Michael Lelko — of Lyons, a suburb of Chicago — will be charged with two felony counts of concealment of a death. He also said a federal investigation also is ongoing that could lead to federal charges connected to his alleged cashing of his mother’s monthly $1,000 Social Security checks for years after she died.

The police chief said Lelko, 45, was not charged in the deaths of 79-year-old Jean Lelko and 44-year-old Jennifer Lelko, because the medical examiner could not identify how either one died.

Herion said Michael Lelko’s 41-year-old brother is being investigated, but as of Thursday afternoon, he had not been charged. Both were in custody and Herion said if John Lelko was not charged within 48 hours he would be released.

Herion said John Lelko could face obstruction charges because he initially told police that his mother and sister were alive and living elsewhere, despite knowing the pair were both dead.

The charges mark the latest chapter in the bizarre story that began with a check of the house, located in the community of Lyons, about 14 miles from Chicago, after it was determined there was no running water at the home.

In the house, there were no operable toilets, and several bags of urine and feces were found inside, Herion said. He also said items such as Star Wars toys were stacked up to the ceiling at the time the bodies were found, and the home was so cluttered that the brothers exited and entered it by climbing through windows.

“The doors were barricaded with debris,” Herion said, according to CNN. “I could see fleas and bugs and piles from floor to ceiling, and I can smell urine and feces.”

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