An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employee died Thursday, four months after she was severely beaten while trying to take protective custody of a child, authorities said.

Pamela Knight, 59, died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to Becky Schlikerman, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy Friday found Knight died from complications of blunt force head injuries and her death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said.

“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.”

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

A Rock Falls man has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder and other charges for the Sept. 29 attack.

Sauk Valley Media reports that 25-year-old Andrew Sucher is accused of kicking Knight in the head so severely that he fractured her skull, causing permanent brain damage and extensive physical disabilities.

Knight was at Sucher’s parents’ home in Milledgeville, in northwest Illinois, to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody when she was attacked. Sucher remains jailed on $275,000 bond. A mental evaluation was ordered for him last month and a status hearing is set for Feb. 23.

Contributing: Associated Press