The Adams County Coroner in Quincy is facing sharp criticism for how he handles poor people who can't afford to bury their loved ones. Coroner James Keller has them sign over their rights to the deceased, then cremates the body and keeps the ashes until the family pays $1,000. If they can't come up with the money, the ashes are eventually buried, along with others, in an unmarked grave.
We initially reported this story, here, on our 25 News website, along with our 25 News Facebook page, and many of you voiced your concerns wondering what Coroner practices look like here at home.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood released a statement on the matter, saying, "We work with local mortuary services to assist with cremation. Medicaid will reimburse a funeral home up to a certain cost, though it may take a while to get payment, but they do get paid. At times, I will pay for the cremation and retain the remains. I ask families to pay the cost of the cremation to Peoria County, and then I will release the remains. However, if they can't pay, I do not hold them hostage, I will release them.".