Authorities are planning to excavate a suburban Chicago backyard Friday after two adult brothers found living in what police called a “hoarder home” said they had buried the bodies of their mother and sister there.
Excavation equipment was expected to arrive Friday at the house in Lyons for a forensic investigation by police, the Cook County medical examiner’s office and the state’s attorney, police said.
The Lyons Police Department has not responded to messages left Friday by The Associated Press seeking an update on the investigation and excavation. Lyons is 12 miles (19 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.
Police said officers were called Thursday morning to the two-story home for a wellness check after a water utility reported that water service wasn’t being used at the home. Gas and electric use was also minimal.
Officers found the residence without running water or working toilets, and its back door barricaded. Police described the residence as a “hoarder home” filled with items and waste from floor to ceiling, including feces and bottles filled with urine. Multiple cats and dogs were present.
Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said two brothers in their late 40s and early 50s lived there. One of the brothers told officers that his sibling was upstairs and had “some health issues.”
As police treated that man, he told officers his mother and sister had also lived with them but that they had died, and that he and his brother had buried them in the backyard.
“Where are they? He indicated they were buried in the backyard, he said: ‘Oh they got sick, they died and we just buried them in the backyard,’” Herion told WLS-TV.
The brothers said their mother was in her 70s when she died in 2019, and that their 44-year-old sister had hit her head and died in the past year, police said.
The brothers told police they had buried the bodies in the backyard due to fears of COVID-19 and to avoid paying the funeral costs.
The state of Illinois has no record of those deaths, WLS-TV reported.
The brothers also said their father died in 2012 and he was cremated.
The men were taken to a hospital for physical and mental evaluation, but have not been placed under arrest, police said.
—The Associated Press