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LYONS, Ill. (AP) — Police discovered two containers Saturday in a backyard in suburban Chicago, a few days after a man told investigators that the bodies of his mother and sister were buried there years ago, an official said.
"They did find one container and they believe a corpse is inside, and they are digging up the second container," said Ray Hanania, spokesman for the village of Lyons. "Almost done."
The next step would be to identify the remains, he said.
The investigation began after officers were called to conduct a wellness check Thursday at the home in Lyons, 12 miles (19 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.
Officers found the home filled with debris and feces and no running water. Two brothers were living there.
The police chief said one brother disclosed that their mother, who was in her 70s, had died in 2015 after their sister pushed her down stairs. The man said the sister died in 2019 after an illness.
Chief Thomas Herion quoted a brother as saying the bodies were buried in the yard for financial reasons. The state has no record of the women's deaths. Herion said that if remains were found, investigators would try to determine whether the deaths were from natural causes or from foul play. It is a felony in Illinois to conceal any death.
The brothers were staying at a hotel while police worked at the property.
"They don't seem to like it, but it's at least a safe place for them and we have social services for them," Hanania said.
LYONS, Ill. (AP) — Police said Friday that they plan to excavate a suburban Chicago backyard this weekend after one of two adult brothers found living in deplorable conditions in a home told officers he had buried their mother and sister's bodies there years ago.
Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said survey work was expected to begin Friday afternoon in the backyard, including taking photos and using a drone to obtain overhead footage, followed on Saturday morning by excavation work.
The investigation that now also involves the Cook County's medical examiner's office and state's attorney's office began after officers were called to conduct a wellness check Thursday at the two-story home in Lyons, 12 miles (19 kilometers) southwest of Chicago. Officers found the home without running water and filthy, filled with debris and feces, Herion said.
He said one brother told officers that their mother, who was in her 70s, had died in 2015, weeks or more after their sister had pushed her down a stairwell. The chief said the man claimed that sister then died in 2019 after an illness.
Herion said the state has no record of the women's deaths.
"He was very detailed in how he packaged the bodies and dug the ground and where he put the bodies at, so we're hoping to find physical evidence of the fact that these bodies are in fact there," he said during a Friday news conference.
If bodies are found, the homicide investigation will seek to determine whether the deaths were from natural causes or from foul play, Herion said.
Although it is a felony in Illinois to either conceal any death, he said, the brothers — who are in their late 40s and early 50s — remained free Friday because authorities have so far found no evidence of bodies.
"Right now we don't know whether there are bodies buried in the backyard or not. This is just their statements," Herion said.
The chief said the brother who claimed to have conducted the burial said he chose to do so on the property for financial reasons.
Herion said the brothers' father is deceased and his death was recorded with the state, but he had apparently lived elsewhere.
Officers were called to the home after a utility reported that water service wasn't being used at the home. Gas and electric use was also minimal.
Police found that the home was without running water or working toilets, and its back door was barricaded. The home was filled with items and waste from floor to ceiling, including feces and bottles filled with urine. Multiple cats and dogs have been removed from the home, Herion said.
"This is a heavy hoarding situation in this house. I've never seen anything this bad," he said.
The men, one of whom has health issues, were evaluated at a hospital and are now staying at a hotel, Herion said.