Suburban family questions federal custody death of loved one


KANKAKEE COUNTY, Ill. — The family of DeWayne Tucker is calling on the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation, claiming that the 32-year-old was perfectly healthy when authorities arrested him last month, saying the next time they saw him, he was intubated in a hospital.

About 24 hours later, Tucker was dead.

Dennis Tucker Jr., the brother of DeWayne Tucker, lamented the loss of what he called his ‘best friend,’ adding that he is seeking answers from law enforcement.

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According to the family, DeWayne Tucker, of Matteson, arrived at the Combs Detention Center in Kankakee County after US Marshalls arrested him on Aug. 16 at the home he shared with his brother.   

“That was the last time I saw him,” Dennis Tucker Jr. recalled. “I said, ‘I got him and I love him.’ I meant that. ‘I got him.’”  

Authorities held Tucker on a warrant for an alleged violation of a 2017 plea agreement relating to a robbery case, in addition to newer charges stemming from earlier this year that he’d allegedly stolen about $1,200 from a bank. But the family says something went wrong during the three weeks of Tucker’s detention.

According to loved ones, Tucker first missed a court date on Aug. 30 at the Dirksen Federal Building.  

“He didn’t show up in court,” family attorney Jon Erickson said. “That is highly unusual. It’s the duty of the US marshals and sheriffs to transport an inmate to a court date.” 

The family told WGN News that they were kept in the dark about Tucker’s whereabouts until a public defender told them he had been taken to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee.    

The Kankakee County Coroner’s Office issued a statement Tuesday, saying in part that, “There were no signs of any trauma or evidence of any foul play discovered during the autopsy. Toxicology testing is being completed and medical records are being reviewed. An official cause and manner of death will be determined at a later date.” 

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Still, the Tucker family disagrees. They say a preliminary autopsy report indicates Tucker died of extreme dehydration, which led to kidney failure and swelling of the brain – formally known as encephalitis. Loved ones add that when they finally got to see him in the hospital, he was covered in cuts and bruises all over his body.  

“He had scars all over his body,” Dennis Tucker Sr., DeWayne’s father, told WGN News. “He didn’t leave my son’s house with scars all over his body. They beat my child and I need justice for my child. If I have to fight every day of my life until I leave this world, I will get justice for my child.” 

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