In an unexpected series of events, police say they've called in excavation equipment to dig for bodies after a call from the water department led to a well-being check that turned into a possible homicide investigation in Lyons.
Authorities said they were initially called to the home after the water department noted that water had not been used in the home in the 3900 block of Center Avenue in over a year.
Police officers discovered that two men, brothers in their late 40s and early 50s, were living in the home, which "was filled from floor to ceiling with boxes and papers" and a number of other items.
Feces was "all over" the residence, and there were no working toilets, according to Ray Hanania, a communications consultant for the village of Lyons.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
"This is a heavy hoarding type situation in this house," said Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion. "I've never seen anything this bad. There were numerous bottles of urine - two liter containers, five liter containers. You come in and they're just thrown about the house. There's not a room in this house that I cannot - and I was in there personally, along with two other officers - that I could go into without stepping into something."
The officers said they spoke to one person inside the home and found a brother upstairs "who was sleeping in a situation that no one should sleep in."
One brother, police said, indicated that he buried his mother and sister in the backyard.
The brothers told police that their sister pushed their mother, who was in her late 70s, down the stairs in 2015, causing "some type of head contusion" and "sometime later" succumbed to a head injury, Herion said.
In 2019, the sister fell ill and later passed away. But the state has no record of either death.
Thee brothers told officers they buried the bodies of both the mother and sister in their backyard rather than pay the costs, and because of fears related to the coronavirus, Hanania said.
Several animals were also said to have been buried in the backyard.
"He escorted us into the backyard of the residence, located and identified locations where the sister was buried, the mother was buried along with various other pets animals that had died in the area," Herion said.
A forensic excavation was set to begin Friday morning in conjunction with the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Both brothers were taken to the hospital, examined and released, according to officials. They remained in custody, but had yet to be charged as of Friday morning.
"Right now we don't have a crime," Herion said. "Right now we don't know whether their bodies are buried in the backyard or not. This is just their statements."
The department plans to bring in archeologists Saturday to begin looking for bones in the yard, which they said will be a long and meticulous process.