It’s the kind of story you might expect to see on the big screen in a Martin Scorcese crime drama but this tale of a corrupt cop who staged his own suicide to look like murder, is all too real.
The northern Illinois police officer’s death led to a massive manhunt in September, as authorities attempted to track down the people who they thought had killed their colleague.
However, it has now been revealed that Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, actually killed himself, but carefully staged the crime scene to look like he’d been murdered, to cover for years of stealing money from his department’s youth program.
On September 1, the beloved officer nicknamed ‘G.I.Joe’ because of his military background, radioed to colleagues that he was chasing three suspicious men on foot. Backup officers later found his body lying 50 yards from his squad car.
The discovery prompted the large manhunt, which included hundreds of officers searching houses, cabins and boats, while helicopters and sniffer dogs scoured the area for days. The whole operation reportedly racked up more than $300,000 (£195,000) in costs.
Authorities said in October that Gliniewicz was shot twice with his own weapon, but the cops were never able to track down the three supposed suspects who they had only vague descriptions of.
Investigators were eventually forced to concede that the death may actually have been a suicide, although his family continued to deny that possibility, with one of his four children, son D.J., saying his father “never once” thought of taking his own life.
Today, however, authorities confirmed the officer’s death as a suicide, claiming he staging his death because he was scared that auditors were close to discovering he’d been embezzling money from the youth program he oversaw.
Interestingly, at a time when there is increased concerns in the U.S. about police brutality, following Gliniewicz’s death, there was a public outpouring of grief over his passing and he received a hero’s funeral.
Gliniewicz even became part of the national discussion about the role of police in the field and was actually held up as a hero and a role model who died doing his job in a dangerous environment. How little everyone knew!