Michael Lelko (left) and his brother John wear hospital gowns after being treated at a local hospital in August. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Michael Lelko (left) and his brother John wear hospital gowns after being treated at a local hospital in August. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Lyons police arrest brothers who buried mom, sister in back yard

By Bob Bong

The older of two brothers who admitted they buried their mother and sister in the back yard of their home in Lyons was charged Thursday with concealing a death.

Michael Lelko, 47, was charged with two counts of concealment of a death, which is a felony.

Police said it was the first in a series of charges expected to be filed against Lelko and his younger brother, John, 42.

John Lelko is in custody and charges are pending, police said.

The bodies of their mother and sister were found in the back yard of their home in the 3900 block of Center Avenue in August. The brothers told police at the time they had died of natural causes. They were taken into custody but released pending a police investigation.

“This has been a very unusual and difficult case because the bodies have been buried for so many years. The autopsy was only able to confirm the identities of the two individuals, the mother and the sister, but not any evidence for the cause of death,” Police Chief Thomas Herion said in a release.

dvn MICHAEL LELKO

Michael Lelko, 47, is being charged with two counts of concealment of a death. (Photos provided by Lyons Police)

dvn JOHN LELKO

John Lelko

“However, both of the brothers are facing felony charges and we expect additional charges to be filed soon,” Herion added.

An exhaustive investigation closely examined every aspect of the, including examining financial records.

“This has been a sad situation but with the help of Police Chief Thomas Herion and his team of investigators, and with the help of the Cook County Medical Examiner, we are very close to closing this case,” said Mayor Chris Getty.

“More charges are anticipated and we had hoped to close this all today.”

A press conference called for Thursday afternoon was cancelled because prosecutors had not signed off on all of the charges. Additional charges against both brothers will be announced when they are filed.

The two brothers told police in August that their sister had pushed the mother, who was in her late 70s, down the stairs of the home in 2015, causing “a head contusion” that resulted in her death. The brothers also said the sister fell ill and died in 2019. There is no record of either death with the state.

Herion said the investigation focused on finding the cause of death, and to collect any possible evidence from the home. The tri-level home has been boarded up since the bodies were found.

Herion said that in addition to local charges, he had been told by federal agents that both brothers also are facing federal charges of theft of Social Security benefits, paid in the name of the mother after her death.

1 Comment

  1. Michael W Bates on April 9, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    About time!! Hang-um!



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