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Winnebago County Coroner locked out of office and email while facing criminal charges

Coroner Bill Hintz had his county privileges revoked while he faces multiple criminal charges.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:41 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz no longer has access to his county office or his email account, marking the latest course of action from the county as he faces multiple criminal charges.

The Winnebago County Board has asked Hintz to step down, but in the meantime have revoked his privileges with the county. They say it’s the best way to maintain the integrity of the office while the investigation takes place.

“No one in their right mind would ever have thought this,” said Eli Nicolosi, Winnebago County Republican Chairman.

Nicolosi believes since Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is involved in the case, it could mean officials have rock-solid evidence against Hintz.

“I don’t know how someone can sleep at night stealing from the dead, it’s absolutely horrible,” said Nicolosi.

Nicolosi says once he found out about the allegations against Hintz, he knew the Republican party needed to separate themselves from the situation.

“I know a lot of people would like to just say ‘you’re gone after a week,’ but I think they’re doing the right thing by taking their time, going through the legal process and getting him out once and for all,” said Nicolosi.

Winnebago County Board Member Burt Gerl says while Hintz is innocent until proven guilty, the office recently noticed Hintz wasn’t showing up to work or doing his job properly.

“We’ve heard reports and a lot of us have gotten the news about what was going on in the office by constituents calling us and asking where a death certificate has been from someone who was deceased 12 to 14 weeks ago,” said Gerl.

Still, Gerl says it’s a tricky situation considering him and others thought Hintz was a perfect fit for the position.

“Unfortunately we make mistakes, and whether Bill was challenged in other ways and this was an opportunity that he took to help himself out of a jam or to help with something else, we don’t know.”

Gerl says that while Hintz lost access to his office and email, he will continue to be paid and will work from home with help from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

At this time, Hintz has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His arraignment is set for September 22.

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