A secretive controversy is roiling the death and burial business in Springfield, Ill., reports the city’s State Journal-Register. Susan Boone, coroner for Sangamon County, Ill., lost her authority to issue burial permits last year, and state police are investigating as part of an ongoing probe of the coroner's office. Last June, the Springfield city clerk revoked Boone's appointment as a deputy local registrar for the city. Under state law, such registrars must issue and sign burial, or disposition, permits if bodies are cremated or shipped out of state. Registrars must also issue permits if deaths are investigated by coroners or medical examiners.
As a result, funeral homes in such cases must now obtain permits from the clerk’s office instead of going to the coroner. The clerk refused to say why she revoked Boone's authority. She told a reporter to file a Freedom of Information Act request, even though the newspaper had already filed a FOIA request for “all records pertaining to the authorization of Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone to act as a deputy registrar.” State police last month began a criminal investigation of the coroner's office prompted by a complaint from the brother of a man who died in January after a struggle with Sangamon County sheriff's deputies. The brother accused Boone of failing to conduct a proper investigation of the death, illegally barring relatives from testifying at the inquest and filing an inaccurate death certificate.