Stories by Beth Hundsdorfer — Capitol News Illinois

Screenshots from a video show leaky pipes, piles of trash and generally filthy conditions in what a source identified as the embalming room of the Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home in Centralia. The source who provided the video requested anonymity due to safety concerns. The funeral home’s director, Hugh Moran, would not confirm its authenticity. (Photos provided)

‘This Place is Horrific’: Complaint Details ‘Filthy’ Conditions at Downstate Funeral Home

Eight photographs and one video taken late last year purported to show the conditions of the funeral home depict piles of dirty sheets, a dead rodent rotting in a stairway and water running from pipes in the embalming room.

Heinz Funeral Home – whose director, Albert August “Gus” Heinz, agreed to a permanent revocation of his state funeral director license in October – is pictured in Carlinville before the signage was removed late last year. (Beth Hundsdorfer / Capitol News Illinois)

After 80 Families Received Wrong Remains From Downstate Funeral Home, Illinois Lawmakers Propose New Legislation

On Thursday, Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, introduced legislation mandates that a funeral director must place a unique identifier on the deceased’s body, body bag, and any body part, organ, or tissue separated from the deceased to be used in nontransplant organ donation. A director must also maintain chain of custody documentation. 

In a selfie shared with Capitol News Illinois, Charles Collins prepares for his first Christmas at home in 14 years. (Photo submitted)

Prisoner Review Board Releases Final Illinoisan Serving Life Sentence for ‘Three-Strikes’ Drug Offense

Charles Collins, 49, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in relation to a 2010 charge for cocaine possession with intent to sell. It was his third felony, making him eligible for an enhanced sentence under the state’s habitual criminal, or “three-strikes,” law.

Illinois DCFS Director Marc Smith appears on “Chicago Tonight” in 2019. (WTTW News)

DCFS Director to Step Down at End of the Year After Agency Hit With Another Scathing Audit

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith will resign effective Dec. 31, he told colleagues in an all-staff town hall meeting Wednesday morning.

(Capitol News Illinois)

Former Illinois State Trooper Seeks Restoration of Driving Privileges Nearly 16 Years After Crash That Killed Teen Sisters

For years, former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White blocked attempts by an ex-state trooper to regain his driving privileges after a high-speed crash that caused the deaths of teenage sisters on a busy St. Clair County interstate in 2007.

Illinois Department of Human Services Inspector General Peter Neumer is pictured with a backdrop of Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center, where he investigated allegations of abuse and neglect. (Neumer photo provided, Choate photo by Beth Hundsdorfer)

Watchdog Overseeing Abuse, Neglect Cases at State-Run Facilities Resigns for Job as Chicago Park District’s Inspector General

After serving nearly four years as the watchdog for the Illinois Department of Human Services, Peter Neumer will join the Chicago Park District as inspector general. 

(Alex Bandoni / ProPublica)

State Leaves 3 Administrators in Charge at Choate Despite Troubled History of Resident Care

A new state watchdog report calls for a “fundamental overhaul” at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center.

Allegations of patient abuse, cover-ups and misconduct continue to proliferate at a beleaguered facility for people with developmental disabilities, despite promises of reform from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and officials in his administration.