GENEVA – Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said he knows there’s a lot of good in people, yet he still was surprised by the public’s willingness to find proper resting places for the 47 unclaimed cremated remains he found on a storage room’s corner shelf.
“The good people really shine when things are dire,” he said. “But I didn’t think we’d have the outpouring that we had.”
Russell this month invited reporters to see where the cremated remains – or cremains – have been kept: next to boxes of old files in a storage room crowded with such objects as furniture, shovels, typewriters and holiday decorations.
Finding a more proper resting place for the remains is part of his mission to restore integrity to the office, which he was elected to in November, he has said.
Since the stories were published, Russell said he has received calls from individuals and cemeteries offering their support. A veterans group has offered to claim veterans as well as veterans’ spouses and children. Plans also are being finalized to inter the remains in a vault at a township cemetery in Kane County, he said, not wanting to reveal the location until plans are set.
“We’re going to be in good shape, I think,” he said. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Two of the remains have been claimed or are in the process of being claimed, Russell said. An Australian woman said she is the cousin of one of the remains on the list. The coroner’s office is working to confirm the lineage, and it will send the remains to Australia upon confirmation.
A man also claimed the remains of his 2-month-old daughter, who died of sudden infant death syndrome 26 years ago. The man and his then-wife moved from Carpentersville to Florida, left the remains in a storage unit and lost the unit when they fell on hard financial times, Russell said.
“They figured they lost the baby forever,” he said.
Although the man now lives in Wisconsin, his mother lives in Kane County and saw the girl’s name on the list. The man picked up the remains the next day, Russell said.
“It was very emotional for him,” Russell said, adding the father had his daughter’s name tattooed on his leg as a memorial.
Nearly 50 unclaimed cremation remains are being stored at the Kane County Coroner's Office. Coroner Rob Russell urges the next of kin to claim them. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-232-3535.
Here are names and date of death (if known) of the unclaimed remains:
• Baby Adams, a boy, Aug. 20, 2006 • Baby Davis, Jan. 13, 2006 • Baby Triston Marquez Euell, Jan. 25, 2002 • Baby Lee, March 23, 2010 • Baby McIntosh, a boy, Oct. 29, 2006 • Baby Joshua Nunn-Burton, May 24, 2003 • Baby Antonio Sherman, also known as Baby Boy Herring, Nov. 20, 2005 • Pauline Jenette Adams • Lorraine Barrett, July 23, 2009 • Charles Michael Basile, Aug. 17, 2008 • James A. Caperonis, March 5, 2005 • Unidentified remains in square copper container found at a Goodwill store in South Elgin • Kenneth Daniel, Sept. 27, 2011 • Terry Degree, July 29, 2007 • Louise Evans, Nov. 26, 2006 • John Gehl, July 30, 2012 • Richard A. Good, Dec. 21, 2003 • Helen Marie Handy, remains found in gold circular container at a Goodwill store in South Elgin, March 31, 1989 • Todd Allen Harshbarger, Jan. 12, 2012 • Robert L. Head, Aug. 31, 2010 • Barbara Hoffman • Gloria Jackson, April 27, 2006 • Kevin L. Klawes, June 12, 2011 • Russell E. Martin, remains in white Gold Metal flour container found at a Goodwill store in South Elgin, Nov. 19, 1998 • Richard Martinez, April 13, 2007 • Michael McDaniel, Feb. 19, 2005 • Zsigmond Nagy, Feb. 4, 2009 • William Nehring, June 1, 2009 • Maria L. Pitts, April 21, 2012 • George Poznecki, Feb. 5, 2007 • Georgia J. Purkyt, Aug. 7, 1996 • Lewis Redde • Juan Reyes, Nov. 23, 2008 • Thomas Rice, May 26, 2007 • Peter Paul Ruiz Jr., Feb. 7, 2012 • Darryl Scott, March 23, 2008 • David Gary Smith, May 12, 2008 • Celia T. Sturm, Nov. 27, 1952 • Derryl Tanner, Jan. 10, 2008 • Edwin C. Taylor, Dec. 17, 2012 • Doris A. Tingle, May 19, 2009 • Laverne Vasco, April 7, 2008 • Dennis Melvin Wead, Feb. 8, 2010 • Matthew Zajak • Julio Zamora, March 13, 2004