Fox Lake Officials Expected to Announce Officer's Death Believed to Be a Suicide

UPDATE: Officials revealed Wednesday that Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz's death was a "carefully staged suicide." To read more about the findings, click here.

Investigators are expected to announce Wednesday they believe veteran Fox Lake, Illinois, police officer Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz died by suicide, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the findings.

The update is expected to come at 10 a.m. in a briefing where Lake County officials will reveal what led investigators to their conclusion.

The officer’s September shooting prompted a massive manhunt in northern Illinois and left a community stunned. 

After reports about the content of Wednesday’s press conference began to surface, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office released a statement.

"One report is claiming to have information about the findings and conclusions of the investigation," the statement read. "We will have no comment on that or other reports until the news conference at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. There will be conclusive results of the investigation announced tomorrow. We respectfully urge all members of the media to refrain from reporting as fact; rumors, innuendo, hearsay, and speculation."

The expected conclusion is a shocking end to months-long mystery surrounding the veteran officer's death. 

Gliniewicz, a married father of four, was last heard from the morning of Sept. 1 when he called for backup while on duty, reporting on his radio he was pursuing three suspicious men in a remote area of the village just south of the Wisconsin state line.

Just 17 minutes later, the responding backup officers found him dead, fatally shot twice with his own gun. One of the shots entered the right side of the front of the officer's vest. Another was fired in the upper chest region.

His death rocked the country and sparked a furious search for the suspects - who Gliniewicz had described as two white men and one black man - involving more than 400 officers, helicopters and canines. Despite a months-long investigation, which has reportedly cost more than $300,000, police never made any arrests, identified any suspects or established a motive.

Questions have swirled around the investigation — particularly since the county coroner said he has been unable to rule the 52-year-old Gliniewicz's death a homicide, suicide or an accident.

In the last update from police, a little more than one month ago, investigators revealed that Gliniewicz was shot twice with his own weapon and there was "evidence of a struggle" at the crime scene.

Nine unidentified DNA samples were found at the scene, and investigators have taken more than 100 samples from area residents and police close to the scene. Authorities believed Gliniewicz was in the area because the village recently purchased the property and there had been reports of vandalism and trespassing.

The 52-year-old officer was on the cusp of retirement when he was killed. He left behind a wife of 30 years, Melodie, and four sons. Throughout the drawn-out investigation, the fallen lieutenant's family firmly stood against swirling rumors that Gliniewicz may have taken his own life.

In a September interview, one of his sons Donald "D.J." Gliniewicz, told the Daily Herald his father has “never once had a single suicidal thought."

"He has applied for several different chief positions at police departments and someone who wants to take their life, they don't plan a future," D.J. Gliniewicz told the publication.

SUICIDE PREVENTION: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact Us