LYONS, Ill. — A Lyons man was charged Thursday with concealment of a death after his mother and sister were found buried in the backyard of his home last year.
45-year-old Michael Lelko and his 41-year-old brother were taken into custody August 2021 after a well-being check was initiated at their home in the 3900 block of South Center Avenue.
Village of Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion announced the charges against Michael Lelko at a press conference, adding additional investigations are on-going and federal charges connected to social security fraud are expected against the man. No charges have been filed against his brother at this time.
The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death for Lelko’s mother, Jean Lelko, and sister, Jennifer Lelko, to be undetermined. Their assessment was made on March 22, 2022, after the women’s identities were finalized the day before. As a result, homicide charges cannot be considered.
When officers first arrived at the home in August, they were met by the two brothers living there. According to police, the residence was a “hoarder home” with items filled from the floor to the ceiling.
Police said there were feces all over, bottles filled with urine and no running water or working toilets. The water department said the home didn’t have running water for a year. Because of the amount of stuff in the house, it was impossible to enter through the front or back door. The brothers were apparently entering and exiting through a side window.
While speaking with the brothers, police learned that their mother died in 2015 potentially involving an accident with their mentally ill sister.
The brothers told police their sister died in 2019 of COVID-19, at a time when cases and deaths from COVID-19 were not of extensive public knowledge.
Lyons police said the brothers told them they buried the bodies in the backyard due to fears of COVID-19 and because they didn’t have money to pay for the funeral costs. The brothers also said they buried several animals in the yard.