Body ID’d after stolen funeral home van found in Chicago


WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. — A body missing and then later recovered following a stolen funeral van incident has been identified.

The Winnebago County Coroner’s Office has identified the body as 47-year-old Curtis Brown, of Rockford. He died of natural causes on Friday and was released into the care of Collins & Stone Funeral Home staff.

Sharon Spearman, Brown’s aunt, told WGN News that the family is frustrated with the funeral home director, Brandy Collins, who she says stopped taking their calls.

“I called [Brandy] and she didn’t answer so I used my granddaughter’s phone and she answered and then hung up,” Spearman said. “I texted her and I’m like, ‘Brandy, that is unprofessional, you have to understand the hurt my sister is going through.’ She just lost her son twice, once in death and now he’s stolen.”

On Saturday, the funeral home reported that one of their vans was stolen. It was located in the 1400 block of East 87th Street in Chicago on Sunday.

Brown’s body was located behind a vacant home in the 8200 block of South Manistee Monday evening.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office was notified and refused to take Brown’s body, the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office claims. Their office responded and transported his body back to Rockford.

The office said Brown’s family was notified of the incident and have been working with an out-of-state funeral home to have his body returned to Mississippi.

Rockford police released surveillance images of a possible suspect in the case.

Anyone with information can leave a tip at 815-966-2900.

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