Police digging in the backyard of a home in Lyons announced Saturday they have found two bodies where the brothers who live in the home say they buried their mother and sister.
The brothers, who had been sitting outside in lawn chairs near the home while the excavation occurred, were handcuffed and taken into custody Saturday afternoon without incident. They were being brought in for further investigation, but no charges have been filed, Lyons Police Chief Tom Herion said.
The Sun-Times is not identifying the brothers because they haven’t been formally charged.
Earlier in the day, forensic investigators digging in the yard found two containers buried about a foot under the ground. They later confirmed human remains were in the containers, but the bodies have not been identified, Herion said.
Herion called it a “very sad situation,” and noted that concealing a death is a felony.
The remains were taken to the Cook County medical examiner’s office and autopsies were expected to begin Sunday, Herion said. It could take up to three months to establish a cause of death, he added.
“This is far from over; it’s going to continue for an extended period of time,” Herion said.
During the dig on Saturday, the two brothers had been sitting under a tree down the street from their home. They said they were concerned about their pets — two cats and two dogs, a German Shepherd and a schnauzer mix — that had been in the home. The brothers also said several pets were buried in the yard.
Herion said humane services took the dogs but police couldn’t find the cats.
A neighbor, who described the men as “antisocial,” said there was no indication the home was as cluttered as police described, though the brothers had been cited several times for the condition of their overgrown yard.
Martha Castaneda, who lives across the street from the men, said there was “no upkeep on the property” and a neighbor cut the grass.
“We complained about that because it’s an eyesore,” Castaneda said.
“It’s been an issue,” said Brian King, who has lived nearby the home for 30 years. “And we’ve known something’s [been] going on for sometime.”
The home had come to the attention of authorities when public works officials noticed water had not been used at the home for more than a year.
A well-being check Thursday at the home located in the 3900 block of Center Avenue in the western suburb uncovered filth and excessive clutter. But the investigation took a turn when Herion asked one of the brothers about their mother.
That brother, who is 45, said he had buried his mother in the backyard. His sister, too.
The man and his 41-year-old brother showed police exactly where they said the bodies had been buried.
The brothers told police they buried their mother — who King described as a “hard-working lady” — in the yard in 2015 after their sister caused her death by pushing her down a flight of stairs.
Four years later, in 2019, the brothers buried their sister in the yard after she died, they told police. On Saturday, the brothers said their father had died in a hospital in 2017.
The brothers were taken to MacNeal Hospital for medical and psychological evaluations and were later released. A village spokesman said the brothers had been put up at a nearby hotel and social service agencies had been assisting them.
Several neighbors expressed concerns over the brothers’ mental health.
Asked about the result of their psychiatric evaluations, Herion said: “All I’m going to tell you about the mental health is... they were treated by Lyons paramedics, they were brought to MacNeal Hospital, they were evaluated medically, physically, psychologically and they were subsequently released from MacNeal Hospital, which is a psychiatric hospital, without being committed.”
Herion said he believed the brothers came forward about burying their family members because “they found out that this house was going to be condemned” and “they wanted to get ahead of it.”
As to why the men weren’t taken into custody Thursday when they admitted to burying two bodies, Herion said: “There’s an old saying, ‘No body, no crime.’
“We did not have a body at the time... Once the bodies were identified, now we have a criminal offense, now we can actually verify that this happened.”
Contributing: Mitch Dudek