Western Illinois coroner who withheld poor people’s remains resigns
By The Associated Press
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — A western Illinois coroner is resigning after facing criticism over his practice of keeping poor people’s remains until their relatives could pay $1,000.
Adams County Coroner James Keller said in his resignation letter Wednesday that he was stepping down effective July 10 to spend more time with his family. Keller has held the position since 2011.
The Associated Press reported last month that Keller was having people who couldn’t afford to bury relatives sign over their rights to the deceased, leaving them without a death certificate. He’d bury the cremated 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’s prolonged budget crisis, which ended last summer.
Adams County Board voted last week to end the practice. R.