An Illinois man has been accused of hiding the death of his mother and sister before proceeding to bury their bodies in the backyard of the family’s dilapidated suburban Chicago home.

In August 2021, law enforcement unearthed the bodies of 79-year-old Jean Lelko and 44-year-old Jennifer Lelko in the backyard of a Chicago home after a wellness check at the residence. Both remains had been buried in plastic tubs that had been sealed with duct tape. After officers questioned the older Lelko's son, Michael Lelko, he admitted that his mother had been dead since 2015 and his sister had passed in 2019, New York Post reported.

The bizarre case came to light when the house was checked after it was determined that the residence was seemingly abandoned and had no running water. Officers found no operable toilets inside the home and several bags of urine and feces inside the residence. The home was reportedly so cluttered that the Lelko brothers exited and entered the residence by climbing through windows.

“The doors were barricaded with debris,” Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said. “I could see fleas and bugs and piles from floor to ceiling, and I can smell urine and feces.”

When law enforcement attempted to enter the residence, the entrance was almost completely blocked by boxes and detritus. The officers only later managed to force their way into the residence through a window, KKTV 11 News reported.

Following the discovery, Michael Lelko has been charged with two felony counts of concealment of a death. Lelko, who reportedly also cashed his mother’s monthly $1,000 Social Security checks for years after she died, could also face federal charges in connection to the incident.

Lelko was not charged with murder because the medical examiner's office could not determine the cause of death of the mother and daughter due to the advanced decomposition of their bodies.

Meanwhile, Lelko's brother, John Lelko, was also taken into custody but was not formally charged. He was later released. However, John Lelko could face obstruction charges because he initially told police that his mother and sister were alive and living elsewhere, even though he knew they were both dead.

According to the officers, the charges were not filed for several months because the bodies were not positively identified until this year.

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