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Chicago-area man charged with burying mom and sister in backyard of hoarder home

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 4/8/2022 Joseph Wilkinson

A suburban Chicago man was formally charged Thursday with burying his mother and sister in the backyard of their disgusting home.

Michael Lelko, 45, was charged eight months after the bodies were discovered at the home in Lyons, about 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.

a man standing next to a tree: Cops stand in the Lelko family yard in Lyons, Ill., on Aug. 28, 2021. © Stacey Wescott Cops stand in the Lelko family yard in Lyons, Ill., on Aug. 28, 2021.

Cops stand in the Lelko family yard in Lyons, Ill., on Aug. 28, 2021. (Stacey Wescott/)

His brother, John Lelko, was also detained Thursday. Police said John would be charged within 48 hours.

Cops said the delay between the discovery and the charges was because they had to identify Jean Lelko and her daughter Jennifer. The brothers claimed that Jennifer killed Jean by pushing her down the stairs in 2015 and that Jennifer died from an illness in 2019.

According to police, they claimed Jennifer died from COVID-19, even though the first death from COVID in Illinois wasn’t recorded until March 2020.

Neither brother was charged with murder Thursday because investigators were unable to determine their mom’s or sister’s cause of death.

Police first arrived at the suspicious residence in August 2021 after the local water company called for a wellness check because no water had been used at the home in 12 months.

According to the officers’ account, they walked into a horror show: feces and urine piled in bags, various objects stacked to the ceiling, no working toilets and two bodies in giant Tupperware containers duct-taped shut in the backyard.

The Lelko brothers were detained at the scene, but released days later as the investigation continued. Michael Lelko was charged Thursday with two counts of concealing a death.

Police said the brothers continued cashing their mother’s Social Security checks for years after she died, and therefore they could also face federal fraud charges.


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