Northwest Illinois man charged with murder of DCFS worker

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Andrew Sucher | Carroll County sheriff’s office

A northwest Illinois man implicated in the death earlier this year of a state child welfare worker has been indicted on first-degree murder charges.

Andrew Sucher, 25, appeared in court Friday to face the upgraded charges stemming from the death earlier this month of 59-year-old Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employee Pamela Knight. His bond was increased to $1 million, Sauk Valley Media reports.

Authorities allege Knight was trying to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody last September from the Milledgeville home of Sucher’s parents when he kicked her in the head, fracturing her skull. Milledgeville is about 55 miles southwest of Rockford.

The attack left Knight with permanent brain damage and extensive physical disabilities, and she died Feb. 8 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled her death a homicide due to complications from the blunt-force head injuries.

Knight, who worked for DCFS for almost 12 years, was assigned to the agency’s office in Sterling. DCFS said it was providing counseling support staff to her colleagues.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Pamela’s family during this difficult time,” DCFS Acting Director Beverly Walker said in a statement. “We are forever grateful for her work to help children and families in Illinois. The work many at DCFS do is not easy. Frontline staff are first responders to children and families in crisis and Pamela’s work has always set an example for all of us who work to protect children.”

Sucher, of Rock Falls, was free on bond at the time of the alleged attack, after pleading not guilty in Whiteside County to aggravated battery of a child. In that case, he is accused of dragging a 6-year-old by the foot and striking him in the face during a July 29 incident.

He initially was charged in December with attempted first-degree murder for the attack on Knight. A mental evaluation was ordered for him last month.

Sucher is being jailed in Stephenson County after allegedly punching a Carroll County deputy in December, Sauk Valley Media reports. The next court date for the case is scheduled for March 9.

Contributing: Associated Press

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