Brothers in custody, 2 bodies found after man tells police his mom, sister are buried in backyard

Two bodies were recovered from a backyard in Lyons Saturday morning, police confirmed on Saturday afternoon, and two brothers who lived in the home were taken into custody.

The discovery comes after a neighbor called police Thursday to conduct a well-being check at 3950 Center Avenue, after seeing a male resident crawl out of a window.

When police arrived at the house, they found Michael Lelko, 45, and John Lelko, 41, living in the house in squalor, with no water, electricity or gas service. 

While talking to Lelko, Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion learned that the man had buried his mother and sister in the backyard after their deaths in 2015 and 2019. 

"He admitted to burying them in the backyard," said Herion. "Concealment of a death is a felony in Illinois. If it turns out it’s a homicide, homicide is a more serious offense." 

Michael and John Lelko told FOX 32 that they buried their relatives because they could not afford a funeral.

The police chief said on Saturday that neighbors had been told that the mom was in a mental institution, so no one was worried about her location.

Police said John Lelko lived upstairs and they found him in ill health. Police entered the home in hazmat suits, removed two dogs from the house and sent the men to a hospital to be checked mentally and physically. 

Martha Aranda Castaneda lives directly across the street and saw the police interacting with her neighbor.  

"That's the first time I saw him [in over a year], when they took him out," she said. 


"At this point we just don't know, but we treat every death investigation as a homicide because we can't go backwards, right?" said Herion. "If we treat it as 'natural causes' and we don't investigate any potential wrongdoing, it's very difficult to undo what we've done."

Herion said the two men suffer from health conditions, both physical and mental

"He had a homeless appearance," said Castaneda.

Lyons Police have been to the home several times in the past for disturbance calls, but said none of the calls were "earth-shattering."  

There are no records of any deaths from the household, according to police.  

Police brought in archaeologists and evidence technicians to dig in the yard and search the house for evidence.