Illinois coroner will no longer hold remains until poor pay

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Officials in an Illinois county have ended a coroner’s practice of holding the remains of poor people until relatives come up with $1,000.

The Associated Press reported last month that Coroner James Keller was having people who couldn’t afford to bury loved ones sign over their rights to the deceased, leaving them without the death certificate. He’d have the body cremated and bury the ashes if relatives couldn’t pay.

Keller said the policy was necessary because Illinois halted or delayed payments for indigent burials due to the state budget crisis.

The Adams County Board approved a new policy Tuesday that doesn’t require families to pay the $1,000.

The (Quincy) Herald-Whig reports expenses will be submitted to the state, which has resumed paying for the burials. Death certificates won’t be withheld.

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