SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The Sangamon County Coroner is investigating Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations in Carlinville for giving families the wrong cremated remains.
Coroner Jim Allmon started the investigation after an area hospital called his office to tell him a body that was supposed to be picked up by the funeral home for cremation was never taken. Allmon then reached out to the family of the person who was supposed to be cremated, but found out the family had already been given cremated remains from the home.
Over the past five days, Allmon said his office has found “numerous” cases just like this one, all leading back to Heinz.
“Our investigation has discovered numerous incidents similar to this that involve Heinz Funeral Home or Family Care Cremations telling the family that their loved one had been cremated, that they were then provided with cremains when in actuality, a cremation never even took place,” Allmon said.
On Thursday, Allmon and several law enforcement agencies went to the funeral home to investigate. They found multiple bodies that were not only improperly stored but were already well into the process of decomposing.
“The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois Department of Finance, Financial and professional regulations, the Carlinville Police Department, the Macoupin County Coroner and I met at Heinz Funeral Home upon my request,” Allmon said. “There we discovered remains of three individuals that were not in a refrigerated setting and in an advanced state of decomposition.”
Allmon was limited in the number of details he could give, due to the ongoing investigation. He said his office has not yet determined how long the funeral home has been doing this.
“Every time that we go to someone’s home and remove cremains that aren’t theirs, those cremains come back to somebody else,” Allmon said. “And when we’ve contacted somebody else, they already have cremains. And those cremains come back to somebody else.”
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell’s office is involved in the investigation, but when asked if any charges have been filed, he said his office is still working with Sangamon County State’s Attorney to try and figure out if there are criminal charges that apply to this case.
“We’re determining what, if any, laws were broken. We’re in contact with State Attorney Dan Wright’s office to determine what evidence we would have,” Campbell said. “So again, as of right now, there’s nobody in custody, but as we continue the investigation, we’re going to see what possible criminal charges are could be.”
As of right now, nobody has been arrested or charged as a result of this investigation. WCIA reached out to Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations for comment, but have not gotten a response.
The Sangamon County Coroner’s Office is encouraging people to call their local county coroner’s office if they’ve had any prior dealings with Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations.