The Sangamon County Coroner and the Sangamon County Sheriff have launched an investigation into the operations of Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations in Carlinville.
On Monday, September 25, a hospital contacted Allmon's office regarding a body that had remained in its morgue for over a month.
Allmon revealed that the family of the deceased woman had selected Heinz Funeral Home shortly after her passing for assistance. Initially, the family believed they had received the cremated remains of their mother. However, Allmon had to inform them that the remains they had received did not belong to their mother and that her body was still in the hospital morgue.
Following a meeting with the family, Allmon confirmed that the remains they possessed belonged to another Sangamon County resident.
"Our investigation has uncovered several similar incidents involving Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations informing the family of the deceased that their loved one had been cremated and providing them with remains, when, in fact, no cremation had taken place," Allmon said.
On Thursday, a joint effort involving the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations, the Carlinville Police Department, the Macoupin County Coroner, and Allmon met at Heinz Funeral Home. During the inspection, Allmon reported the discovery of three bodies in an advanced state of decomposition, not properly refrigerated, and unable to be identified at that time.
All three bodies were taken to Sangamon County for scientific identification.
In at least one instance, a body under the care of the funeral home was cremated under a different identity. Due to the ongoing investigation, Allmon provided limited details and had not determined how long this had been occurring.
Cremated remains are typically accompanied by a medallion attached to the top, which includes a pin corresponding to the person who was cremated. "As long as the individual's identification was not switched prior to cremation, these medallions should help us correctly identify the cremated remains," Allmon said.
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said, "We are currently evaluating if any laws were violated. We are collaborating with State Attorney Dan Wright's office to assess the available evidence.”At this time, no one is in custody, but as the investigation continues, we will explore potential criminal charges.”
Allmon encouraged families who have concerns about their previous interactions with Heinz Funeral Home to contact the coroner's office for assistance.