Body found in Chicago days after van was stolen from Rockford Funeral Home

CHICAGO (CBS) — The body of a deceased man was finally found in the South Chicago neighborhood Monday night after days missing.

The body disappeared along with a van stolen from a Rockford funeral home over the weekend. The van was found Sunday, but the body was not found until a day later, more than two miles away.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the family trying to bury their loved one is feeling some relief as investigators finally learned where his body was Monday night. However, it was not clear how the van was stolen in the first place, or who dumped the body in Chicago.

An anonymous 911 call led Chicago police to an alley near 83rd Street and Manistee Avenue after someone believed they saw a body on the street. When officers arrived, they confirmed what the caller saw.

The police presence in the South Chicago neighborhood drew the attention of neighbors, and then more first responders arrived.

“An ambulance, a fire truck, and I was like, ‘Oh, what’s going on? Let me do what I normally do: go out on the porch and pay attention; try to figure it out,'” said a neighbor. “And then after that, I was like, wow. They cut out the red tape. Let me go back to the house.”

Red crime scene tape was encircling several abandoned houses on the block. The investigation extends to Rockford, where over the weekend, a funeral home reported the theft of a van with a body.

After days of searching for the van and the body, both turned up in Chicago, separately.

Rockford police said the van was stolen Saturday afternoon from the Collins & Stone Funeral Home. A dead man’s body was a body bag in the cargo area at the time.

It was not clear if the thief knew there was a body inside when he stole the van.

“Hell, did they steal a body?” said a witness.

The van was found Sunday night in Chicago with no body inside, according to Rockford police. Chicago police found the abandoned gray 2012 Chrysler Town & Country in the 1400 block of East 87th Street near Dorchester Avenue, 97 miles from the Rockford Funeral Home from where it was stolen.

The body was found at 4:29 p.m. Monday, police said. The body was that of a 47-year-old man, police said.

As of Monday night, it was unclear whether or not the family of the deceased man had been notified, and what, if any, recourse they had.

Rockford police released surveillance footage of a possible suspect, who was wearing a black hoodie, black pants and gloves.

He is wanted not only for theft as a vehicle, but also for mistreatment of the corpse for moving the body without authorization.

In the meantime, we’ve learned that when the body was found, it wasn’t covered in a bag, it was just dumped. It all has left a family heartbroken and investigators stumped.

“I mean, I’m sorry about what happened, honestly,” the neighbor said.

We contacted the Rockford Funeral Home, but they did not get back to us. We don’t know if the van was running or not when it was stolen.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information about the van being stolen is asked to call Rockford police at 815-966-2900. Anonymous tips can also be texted to 847411 by including RPDTIP at the beginning of your message.

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