Two weeks into the investigation into the death of Fox Lake Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz and there are signs that investigators may be at odds.
Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd confirmed reports that the Major Crimes task force interviewed the pathologist who did the officer’s autopsy without him, even though Rudd will issue the final report.
“I am confused and hurt why that occurred,” he said. “That’s all.”
Last week, investigators criticized Rudd for speaking to the media about the investigation, saying his comment "puts the entire case at risk."
Still, Rudd said there is no tension between himself and the task force.
“The term tension, in regards to me and the task force, would imply that we are in contact with each other,” he said, “which is not the case over the last few weeks. So to have tension you have to communicate and we are not communicating.”
So far, the coroner has revealed that Gliniewicz died from a “devastating” gunshot wound and officials said he was struck by two bullets, but investigators have not revealed how many shots were fired and if the fatal round came from the Lieutenant’s own gun, which was recovered at the scene.
On Tuesday, for the first time, officials with the task force investigating the officer’s death conceded they are considering both homicide and suicide. While Gliniewicz said on his radio that he had been pursuing three individuals just prior to his death, police have revealed no leads or even a description of who those individuals might have been.
But spokesman Chris Covelli was quick to add that officially, the matter is being pursued as a homicide investigation.
Rudd said he is still waiting for critical evidence before finalizing his report and determining a manner of death for Gliniewicz.
“We need the DNA on the gun, we need the fingerprints on the gun, we need the DNA that they found, that they claim is not related to the officer,” Rudd said. “We need the gunshot residue from the officer’s clothing and anything else.”
Without that evidence, Rudd says investigators are left in a difficult position.
“The difficult position is this – we don’t have a perpetrator that we know of right now,” he said. “It’s very difficult to label this a homicide.”
That possibility is upsetting for the 30-year veteran’s family.
Gliniewicz’s son Donald "D.J." Gliniewicz told the Daily Herald Wednesday, "my father never once had a single suicidal thought in his life."
Rudd said he doesn’t envy task force officers who may soon be forced to task the Gliniewicz family some very difficult questions.
“If the crime task force does not have any particular evidence of a perpetrator of this officer’s death, i.e. homicide, then they have to consider the other manners of death, which is suicide, accident and undetermined,” he said.
Rudd said a meeting has been scheduled for Sunday with members of the task force and the independent pathologist who did the Gliniewicz autopsy.