Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher filed an emergency motion last week to get temporary custody of his 11-year-old son after the boy’s stepfather, Ryan Karageorge, died “under suspicious circumstances” in the Willow Springs home he shared with the boy, court records show.
Urlacher’s attorney filed the emergency petition on Jan. 4. The former Bears linebacker was granted temporary custody of his son, Kennedy, after Karageorge died of a gunshot wound in the home on Dec. 29, 2016.
Urlacher, who now lives in Arizona, was granted custody by a Cook County judge on Jan. 9. The ruling was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Reached via text message Thursday afternoon, Urlacher told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I’m gonna pass right now but thank you.”
Kennedy was with Urlacher in Arizona on Dec. 29 when the boy received a Snapchat message stating his stepfather, Karageorge, was dead, according to Urlacher’s petition.
Karageorge married Kennedy’s mother, Tyna Robertson, in September 2016 and lived with her for less than a year, the filing stated.
About 10:30 p.m., Urlacher and his son tried calling Robertson. Unsuccessful in contacting her, they called her mother, the boy’s grandmother. Robertson’s mother told them she hadn’t heard about anything involving Karageorge’s well being, the filing said.
Urlacher called Robertson’s mother again about 45 minutes later, and Robertson answered the phone, according to the filing. Urlacher gave the phone to his son, though he could hear that Robertson’s demeanor “was happy and cheerful” and seemed as though “nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.”
Robertson hung up on her son after Kennedy asked her, “What happened to Ryan?” A short time later, she called back on her mother’s phone and told her son and Urlacher that Karageorge, 34, had died in a car crash, the filing stated. During that call, her demeanor “had completely changed; she was hysterical.”
About 8:15 a.m. on Dec. 30, Robertson called Urlacher, again from her mother’s phone, and “admitted Ryan had not died in a car accident,” according to Urlacher’s petition.
Robertson told Urlacher that she and Karageorge were out at a bar celebrating his father’s birthday, adding that when they got home they got into an argument, according to the filing.
“Ryan took out his gun to unload the gun, he was counting to 5, and the gun went off and Ryan shot himself,” Robertson allegedly told Urlacher, according to the petition.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Cook County medical examiner’s office had not determined the cause and manner of Karageorge’s death, only that he was pronounced dead in his home in the 0-100 block of Santa Fe Court at 8:57 p.m. on Dec. 29.
Reached Thursday evening, Robertson declined to comment.
Urlacher cited his son’s development as a reason he should be in his custody, stating: “Given that a death by gunshot occurred during an argument in Tyna’s home, and is under investigation by the police and there is likely to be media reporting and coverage, the environment with Tyna is a serious endangerment to the child’s mental, moral or physical health, and if the child is required to return to Tyna’s care, it will significantly impair his emotional development.”
Urlacher and Robertson have shared custody of the boy since his birth, with Kennedy spending much of his time off from school at his father’s home in Arizona.
Their son was born May 20, 2005, but Urlacher did not meet him until July 22 and only spent 15 minutes with the boy on that day, according to court documents, though in September 2005, Urlacher sought to establish paternity and seek full custody of the boy.
In 2009, Robertson was thrust into the public spotlight after being accused of failing to make payments on an $11 million judgment against her for making false sexual-assault allegations against “Riverdance” star Michael Flatley.
Contributing: Adam Jahns