Turner Files Legislation to Regulate, Create Chain of Custody For Human Remains In Wake of Heinz Funeral Home Investigation

By Benjamin Cox on November 9, 2023 at 3:14pm

State Senator Doris Turner has introduced legislation that would put procedures and protocols in place to protect families who have lost a loved one in the wake of an area funeral home’s mishandling of human remains.

Turner says it’s vital to ensure no family has to receive the dreaded call that the remains they received belong to someone else, saying that the issues with Heinz Funeral Home and Family Care Cremation in Carlinville are not isolated, but a nationwide problem.

Senate Bill 2643 would require the death care industry in the state as well as state regulators to implement a mandatory unique identification tagging system for all human remains. It also would establish a chain of custody system that tracks the human remains of a deceased individual whose death occurred in the state from death to final disposition, if the final disposition is in Illinois.

Turner’s measure aims to reestablish integrity and trust in the death care industry by putting procedures and protocols in place that aim to prevent the misidentification and misplacement of dead bodies or human remains, and conduct that results in a method of final disposition that differs from what is stipulated by the deceased individual or the deceased’s next of kin.

The bill has the support of Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon, whose office is currently spearheading the efforts to get families their family members’ proper cremains due to the mishandling at Heinz Funeral Home.

Turner’s bill awaits a committee assignment in the Illinois Senate.