By Bob Uphues
Brookfield police and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office are investigating whether a man found dead last week of a stab wound to the chest committed suicide or was killed by someone else.
According to Brookfield Police Lt. Edward Petrak, the victim's wife claims her husband stabbed himself in the chest with a knife that police later found in the kitchen sink. However, a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner said Monday afternoon that there's been no official ruling on the cause of death, "pending police investigation."
Petrak said the Illinois State Police crime lab is processing evidence taken from the scene, including the knife, but it could be several weeks before those results come back.
Meanwhile, detectives from Brookfield and investigators from the state's attorney's office are continuing with their investigation, said Petrak.
When police arrived at a home in the 9500 block of Jackson Avenue at 4:33 p.m. on Dec. 2, an officer reported finding a 52-year-old man lying face-up on the kitchen floor with a red jacket rolled up underneath his head like a pillow. The man's skin color was bluish-gray, according to the report, and cool to the touch.
Police noticed some blood on the man's shirt, which had been partially lifted up. An ice pack had been placed under the man's shirt and police noted a two-and-a-half-inch-deep puncture wound in the left side of the man's chest.
An officer reported finding a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade in the sink.
According to the man's wife, she was upstairs in a second-floor bedroom when she heard a loud thud come from the first floor. The report isn't clear exactly when she heard that noise, though it appears to have happened after 3:41 p.m., when the victim's friend called to discuss a home remodeling project.
The friend, a 50-year-old man from Willowbrook, told police he called his friend to see if he wanted to talk over repairs to the bathroom at the victim's home. The victim reportedly answered, "Yeah," and the friend drove over.
When the friend got there, said police, he walked into the house and met the victim's wife, who was upset. The friend saw the victim lying on the floor, snoring, according to police. According to Petrak, the victim's wife told the man's friend that he was drunk
The friend and the victim's wife went back outside for a period of time, about 20 minutes, according to Petrak. When they went back inside, the victim was no longer breathing. It was at that time, according to the police report, that the friend noticed blood on the victim's shirt and told the victim's wife to call 911.
Paramedics took the victim to Loyola University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:05 p.m. About 40 minutes later, police transported the victim's wife to the Brookfield police station to be interviewed. She was released later that evening after police obtained a search warrant to collect evidence at the scene and completed their investigation there.
The victim, his wife and daughter reportedly had been arguing earlier during the day on Dec. 2. The victim had arrived home that morning at 4 a.m. after a night of drinking, according to the police report.
The family argued during the day, and during one of the arguments, the victim reportedly broke his daughter's cellphone. The daughter and her mother went to the mall to get a replacement phone, returning home about 2:20 p.m.
The victim continued to yell at his wife and daughter, according to the police report, until the daughter went to work at about 2:45 p.m. and his wife went upstairs. Sometime after, the victim's wife heard a "thud" on the first floor.