A grand jury in Illinois on Wednesday indicted the widow of a police officer who authorities later said had staged his suicide after years of stealing money from a police program.
The death of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz last year prompted a large-scale manhunt, as police scoured the region near the Wisconsin border for days.
Gliniewicz, 52, had reported that he was pursuing three possible suspects. He was found with a fatal gunshot wound. The Fox Lake, Ill., police officer, known locally as “G.I. Joe,” was publicly mourned at a tearful funeral that followed.
However, last November, authorities made a stunning announcement. Gliniewicz had actually staged his suicide after a long run of stealing money from a program he ran for the department, they said.
On Wednesday afternoon, officials in Lake County, Ill., announced that Melodie Gliniewicz, the officer’s widow, was indicted by a grand jury there on charges related to the theft.
The jurors heard testimony from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office on Wednesday before indicting her on six counts, all felonies, including money laundering and misusing charitable funds. After the indictment, a judge issued an arrest warrant for her and set bond at $50,000.
The police investigation found that Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, had a role as a supervisor with the program her husband had overseen.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said it sent a team of detectives to investigate and found that money was used for personal expenses, including a trip to Hawaii and charges at more than 400 restaurants.
“Fox Lake, all of Lake County, and quite frankly the entire country have been through a mix of emotions throughout the Gliniewicz investigations,” Mark C. Curran Jr., the Lake County sheriff, said in a statement. “It is my hope the community can continue healing and rebuilding.”
After the announcements regarding the late police officer’s finances, questions remained about who else knew about or was involved in the alleged malfeasance.
The investigation into the officer’s actions did not end with the public announcement because it uncovered “criminal activity on the part of at least two other individuals,” Cmdr. George Filenko, head of the task force looking into the situation, said last November.
Local and federal officials declined to identify the other two individuals, but media reports identified them as Gliniewicz’s wife and son.
Attorneys for Melodie Gliniewicz said in November that the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office had frozen her access to her personal checking and savings accounts. The checking account was unfrozen, they said, but in a statement she called on people not to rush to judgment and said she “has faith that the truth will come out.”
On Wednesday afternoon, her attorneys said that given her attempts to cooperate with law enforcement, she was “devastated by the decision to bring charges against her.”
“Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in court to show the world her innocence,” her attorneys said in a statement.
[This story has been updated with a statement from her attorneys.]