The wife and son of veteran Fox Lake, Illinois, police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, whose highly publicized death has been ruled a "carefully staged suicide," are under investigation, a source close to the investigation told NBC5 News. Melodie and D.J. Gliniewicz have not been charged with any crime.
At a press conference Wednesday, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander George Filenko called Gliniewicz’s Sept. 1 death a "carefully staged suicide." Filenko said Gliniewicz faked his own killing to help conceal "extensive criminal acts."
Specifically, he said, Gliniewicz had been "stealing and laundering money" from the Fox Lake Police Explorer post for seven years, using the funds for personal purchases, mortgages, travel expenses, even adult websites.
Filenko said the probe is not over.
"Our investigation strongly indicates criminal activity on the part of at least two other individuals," he said.
The task force indicated in its report that Gliniewicz staged an elaborate ruse, forcing a massive manhunt for suspects who never existed.
"Our investigation has determined conclusively that Gliniewicz intentionally left a staged trail of police equipment at the crime scene," Filenko said. "It was learned through investigation that Gliniewicz had significant experience staging mock crime scenes for police explorer training."
The officer’s family released a statement Wednesday, just hours after the official announcement.
"Today has been another day of deep sorrow for the Gliniewicz family," the family said in the statement released by their attorney. "The family has cooperated with the Task Force's investigation and will not comment at this time. The Gliniewicz family requests that their privacy be respected as they continue to cope with the loss of the beloved husband and father."
Gliniewicz 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. Three men were found by investigators, but police quickly discounted them as suspects. However, because of their proximity to the area, Filenko said he could not rule out the possibility that Gliniewicz might have actually seen the men, incorporating their descriptions into his scheme.
During the hour-long briefing, officials released text and facebook messages said to be key in revealing the officer’s motives. Among the messages are statements from Gliniewicz claiming he used money from the Explorer account to pay for a $624.70 flight. Another one claims that if the Fox Lake village administrator "gets ahold of the checking account I'm pretty well (expletive)."
The administrator, Anne Marrin, conceded Wednesday she was pressing Gliniewicz for details on the Explorer program, up to the day before his death.
"When I heard that he was concerned that I was asking tough questions about the Explorer’s program, it only confirmed that my questions were the right thing to do," she said.
The text messages reveal that Marrin loomed large in Gliniewicz’s fears.
"She hates me," he texted someone identified only as "Individual 2," who suggested, "Hopefully she decides to get a couple of drinks in her and she gets a DUI."
"Trust me," Gliniewicz replied. "I’ve thought it through. Many scenarios, from planting things, to the Volo bog."
Citing a source close to the investigation, the Chicago Sun-Times identified "Individual 2" as Gliniewicz’s son D.J. In other texts, the officer communicates with "Individual 1," whom the paper identified as Gliniewicz's wife, Melodie.
On June 25, the officer warned Individual 2, "You’re borrowing from that other account. When you get back, you’ll have to start dumping money into that account, or you will be visiting me in jail!"
Then, the next day, Gliniewicz again lamented the village administrator’s scrutiny.
"This situation right here would give her the means to crucify me if it were discovered," he said.
He cautioned his chief on Aug. 31, "She has now demanded a complete inventory of explorer central, and a financial report."
Investigators said Gliniewicz faked his own slaying the following day.
"He’s betrayed the trust of police," Filenko said. "He’s betrayed the trust of his community. It’s the ultimate betrayal."