FAMILY OF MURDERED MAN FIGHTS WITH MARION COUNTY CORONER FOR RELEASE OF REMAINS

FAMILY OF MURDERED MAN FIGHTS WITH MARION COUNTY CORONER FOR RELEASE OF REMAINS

MARION COUNTY, IL — The family of a man who was murdered in Centralia in 2019 says their attempts to claim his body have been thwarted by the Marion County Coroner’s Office who now apparently says no one ever attempted to claim. We’ve reached out to Coroner Troy Cannon for comment on the status of Clendar Edmond Junior’s remains but he has not yet responded.

According to Nichole Johnson of Belleville, the mother of Edmond’s children says she’d been in contact with Cannon for over a year about Edmond’s remains and was initially told they were in Champaign pending an autopsy and could not be released until the Marion County Sheriff’s Office had completed their investigation. Lt. Andy Garden of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says they never take possession of a body and that the coroner maintains control of a body during an investigation, which is essentially completed with an autopsy. Garden also says the MCSO has been in contact with both Cannon and Crouse Funeral Home in Salem in an effort to have Edmond’s remains returned to his family but that Cannon had apparently filled out the paperwork incorrectly.

The last of five defendants charged with Edmond’s murder pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November of 2020 at which time Cannon had the remains moved to Crouse Funeral home, telling them it would only be for a few days while he completed paperwork. Edmond’s family was reportedly not informed when his body was moved and only found out after contacting the Sheriff’s Department to inquire about when they would be released. According to Rich Crouse, he was asked to store Edmond’s remains for a “day or two” but that turned into nearly two months. During that time, Crouse says he was in contact with Nichole Johnson to arrange cremation of the remains but that Cannon had finalized the man’s death certificate and named himself as the next of kin so he could not release them to anyone but Cannon.

But Thursday morning Cannon retrieved the body from the funeral home and apparently took them to be cremated. He later told Johnson in text messages obtained by Withers Broadcasting, that no one had made arrangements with a funeral home so he took the body to Merz Vault to be cremated. He also told her she could get the ashes after paying $1,500 for the expense of the cremation. Johnson says the money isn’t the issue but after receiving a number of contradictory explanations from Cannon over the last year, she’s concerned they may not be the actual remains of Edmond. She also says she only wanted to bring Clendar’s remains home before their son leaves for the military in a few months.

Johnson praises Rich Crouse and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for their kindness and their attempts to help her, Edmond’s children, and siblings to bring his remains home.

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