His 37 count indictment for stealing government funds, forgery and official misconduct probably isn't helping him convince people not to believe the internet rumors.
A County Coroner in Illinois has shut down rumors of a serial killer on the loose after eight bodies were found in the space of eight weeks.
According to the Rockford Register Star, Winnebago County has collected more bodies in 56 days than it typically would in an entire year — and many of the causes of death have yet to be released.
A Reddit post last month in the /SerialKillers sub highlighted the anomaly, claiming police were not being transparent; a subsequent TikTok video promoting the theory has already been viewed more than 2.5million times:
Officially, one has been ruled a suicide, one a drug overdose, and a third a homicide, with the suspect in that case arrested and charged. The other five do not yet have official causes... but according to authorities, none are connected.
"We do not have a serial killer. None of these cases have any relationship whatsoever," Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz told the Star. "There is nothing that I have seen that gives me reason to believe that we should be concerned."
He did accept that the body count was unusually high, however.
"We might average four a year," he added. "So, maybe the rest of the year we won't have any more. I don't know."
The Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rick Ciganek agreed, insisting "Some of these are suicides."
"It's not like there is someone out there making suicides look like the work of serial killer," he said. "It's just not realistic."
According to the Star, the eight bodies in the Rockford region are:
March 2 — The body of 33-year-old Michelle Arnold-Boesigner is discovered in a U-Haul self-storage unit in Roscoe.
March 9 — Skeletal human remains are found near the U.S. 20 bypass in Rockford.
March 10 — The body of Keith Heidenreich is pulled from the Mississippi River in rural Savanna. It's the only discovery that brought murder charges, against one Levi T. J. Meyer, 35.
March 16 — The body of 27-year-old Brandon Cuddy is pulled from the Rock River in Sterling, 77 days after he went missing.
March 23 — Skeletal remains are discovered in a wooded area off Auburn street; they are later identified as 33-year-old Wesley Shaver, who'd been missing since October 2.
March 31 — Another set of unidentified human bones are found near Cherry Valley.
April 17 — A body is discovered near a dirt bike trail by someone riding an ATV; no cause of death is revealed, although Hintz suspects it had been there less than 18 hours.
April 29 — The body of 28-year-old Rockford resident Patrick Michael Reum is found in the Rock River in Dixon; he'd been missing since December. The Lee County Coroner insists there is "sign of foul play or anything of that nature."
Five of the bodies were found within Winnebago County alone. Hintz describes this as "a mere coincidence."
While theorists are suspicious of the lack of information coming from authorities, it has been pointed out that in the cases of drug overdoses it can take six weeks or longer for toxicology reports to return, while in the cases of suicides, families often insist on privacy.
The fact that County Coroner Hintz is currently indicted on 37 counts of stealing government funds, forgery and official misconduct probably isn't helping him convince people not to believe the internet rumors, either.
According to criminal complaints, per WTVO, Hintz and his wife Michelle submitted bogus documents claiming they had attended a "New York Death Investigation Seminar", billing the county for a hotel stay, gas and car rental, misusing a total of $15,818.88.
Despite the ongoing controversy, Hintz was reelected in November, having run unopposed.