Illinois Man Arrested For Allegedly Burying His Mother and Sister In Backyard, Continued Cashing Social Security Checks

    An Illinois man is accused of concealing the deaths of both his mother and sister after authorities discovered their bodies buried in the backyard of their home.

    Michael Lelko — of Lyons has been arrested on felony charges.

    Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said Lelko would be charged with two felony counts of concealment of a death. He also said a federal investigation is ongoing and could lead to federal charges for his alleged cashing of his mother’s monthly $1,000 Social Security checks for years following her death.

    The police chief also said Lelko, 45, has not been charged in the deaths of his mother, Jean Lelko, 79, or his 44-year-old Jennifer Lelko because the medical examiner could not identify how they died.

    Herion said Michael Lelko’s 41-year-old brother is also being investigated, but as of Thursday afternoon, he had not been charged, the New York Post reported.

    Herion said John Lelko may face obstruction charges because he told police that his mother and sister were living somewhere else, despite knowing both were both dead.

    The charges mark the latest revelation that all started with a check on the home after determining there was no running water at the location.

    The house had no operable toilets, and several bags of urine and feces were found inside, Herion said.

    He also said there were Star Wars toys stacked up to the ceiling when the bodies were found, and the residence was so cluttered that the men exited and entered it by climbing through windows.

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

    “Officers attempted to enter the residence, but entranceways were almost completely blocked with boxes and detritus,” court documents reportedly showed. “Due to [the] deplorable condition of the residence, officers were only able to get inside the residence through a window.”

    Eight months ago, police discovered the bodies in the backyard during a well-being check. Both bodies were buried in plastic tubs and sealed with duct tape.

    Herion said Michael Lelko told police that his mother passed in 2015 after his sister pushed her down the stairs. He admitted to burying his sister in 2019 after she became ill and died. He claimed his sister had died of COVID-19. However, the first COVID-19 case in Illinois was not confirmed until February 2020.

    “When I interviewed Michael, he admitted that he buried his mother and his sister in the yard,” Herion said. “John did not give any statements pertaining to whether he participated in that.”

    Herion confirmed charges had not been filed for several months because the bodies were not identified. However, the brothers were taken into custody when the bodies were found but were released without being charged.

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