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Man Allegedly Buried Mom And Sister in the Backyard, Then Collected Social Security Checks For Years

Michael Lelko allegedly stated that his sister Jennifer Lelko had killed their mom Jean Lelko by pushing her down the stairs before dying of COVID-19, before the first case of the virus was even reported.

By Gina Tron
Man Allegedly Buried Mom And Sister in the Backyard

An Illinois man is accused of burying his own mother and sister in the backyard of their home before collecting social security checks for years.

Michael Lelko, 45, will be formally charged with two felony counts of concealment of a death, Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion announced this week, according to the Associated Press.

The remains of Jean Lelko, 79, and Jennifer Lelko, 44, were discovered in August in the family’s suburban Chicago backyard during a welfare check, the Associated Press reports. Both were buried in plastic tubs that had been sealed with duct tape.

It’s not clear how or when either died, but Michael has allegedly been cashing his mom’s monthly $1,000 Social Security checks for years. A federal investigation into that allegation is ongoing and could result in further charges. Herion stated that he could also face obstruction charges for allegedly claiming that his relatives were alive and living elsewhere. 

Michael Lelko

Michael’s 41-year-old brother is also in custody but has not been charged.

The two siblings have allegedly stated that Jennifer had killed Jean by pushing her down the stairs in 2015. They also claim that Jennifer died from COVID-19 in 2019, before the first official case of the virus was even reported.

According to the New York Daily News, the property where the remains were found is a site exhibiting severe hoarding behavior. When officials found Jean and Jennifer’s remains last year, they noted piles of objects stacked to the ceiling of the home, feces and urines in bags and no working toilets. The Associated Press specifies some of the objects as Star Wars toys. The home was reportedly so cluttered when the remains were discovered that the brothers had taken to climbing in and out of windows to enter and exit the home.

It’s not clear if either brother has an attorney. The Lyons Police have not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.