Lyons brothers’ mom’s name used to file court documents in 2018 — years after they say she died

The brothers told police they buried their mother and sister in the backyard of their home in the southwest suburb, where two bodies were discovered over the weekend. The men have been released from police custody and do not currently face any charges.

SHARE Lyons brothers’ mom’s name used to file court documents in 2018 — years after they say she died
Two containers with human remains were found on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 buried in the backyard of a home in Lyons.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Court filings raise a whole new set of questions about a case involving a Lyons home where police unearthed two bodies over the weekend after two brothers who lived there told authorities they had buried their mom and sister in the backyard years earlier.

A document entered in a foreclosure lawsuit involving the home was purportedly filed by the mother of the two men in April 2018. But the two men, who aren’t being named because they haven’t been charged with a crime, told police and reporters their mother had died in 2015.

No hearings were ever held in the lawsuit, so the mother was never obligated to appear in a Cook County courtroom. But records show that one of the brothers accepted a summons for his mother in March 2018 and claimed to a process server that she still lived at the home at the time.

The brothers, ages 41 and 45, came to the attention of authorities last week when public works officials noticed water had not been used at the filthy and cluttered home for more than a year.

The brothers told police their sister suffered from mental illness and pushed their 72-year-old mother down a flight of stairs in their home in 2015, causing her death. Their sister, they said, died in November 2019 at the age of 42 following an illness. They told police they suspect it was a case of COVID-19, but the virus didn’t begin its march across the country until months later.

The brothers claimed they buried their loved ones themselves and concealed their deaths — a felony offense in Illinois — because they were afraid of the police.

They were arrested Saturday after forensic investigators dug up the bodies, but they were released Monday without charges. While in custody the brothers stopped cooperating with police and asked to contact an attorney, police said.

In the foreclosure case, the document purportedly filed by the mother includes her handwritten name in two places, as well as a label with her name and home address. The handwriting doesn’t appear to match her signatures on a document for the underlying reverse mortgage that was filed in December 2004.

That document was a letter addressed to her in April 2018 by a subsidiary of the lender and plaintiff, CIT Bank. In the letter, the sender claimed that she defaulted on the loan after accruing more than $13,000 in unpaid property taxes and failing to verify she lived at the home for over a year, flouting requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which insured the mortgage and was also named in the suit.

Court records show that CIT ultimately dropped the suit later that year after the loan was reinstated, although records don’t indicate why.

In June 2019, CIT transferred the mortgage to the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company. Then in one fell swoop on April 28, nearly $20,000 in the home’s property taxes and interest was paid off. The deed for the home continues to be in the mother’s name, according to county records.

HUD and the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company declined to comment. CIT Bank did not respond to emailed questions.

The type of reverse mortgage on the property can convert a home’s equity into a source of money for the borrower, according to HUD. But inheriting a property with such a mortgage can be daunting, because heirs either have to quickly repay the full loan balance or 95% of the home’s appraised value, whichever is less.

When the foreclosure suit was filed, the principal balance due on the home’s note and mortgage was more than $176,000, plus interest, costs and advances.

When the home fell into its current condition is unclear. Police said it was littered with human feces and large containers filled with urine when they went there last week. However, an inspection report included in the filings for the foreclosure case shows the property was in “fair” condition in March 2018 and the utilities were still in working order at that time.

Meanwhile, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office is in the process of confirming the identities of the remains and figuring how the people found in the yard died, a process that’s expected to take weeks due to the decomposition of the bodies.

The brothers have no listed phone numbers and they couldn’t be reached Tuesday. One of them told the Sun-Times last week that neither had an “official job,” though they’d sold vintage toys online in the past.

“I never stole in my life,” the older brother said.

Contributing: Madeline Kenney

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