Police officers have said that they believe an Illinois man who killed his wife and then himself did so over coronavirus fears. The Will County Sheriff’s Office released a statement about the situation on April 4. The statement indicates that on April 2, at around 8 p.m., police officers attended a residence for a welfare check, which was located on the 400 block of Bruce Road in Lockport Township, Illinois.
Police said that they found two individuals lying on the floor of the residence, “with obvious signs of trauma to their heads.” Police have named the two as Patrick Jesernik, 54 years old, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59 years old. According to family statements to the police, “Patrick had been scared that he and Cheryl had contracted the COVID-19 virus.”
Here’s what you need to know about Patrick Jesernik and the police case:
1. Their Deaths Were Deemed by Investigators to Be a Murder-Suicide Based on the Evidence at the Scene
The police have stated that the doors and windows of the residence were locked from the inside, so police and fire personnel had to force their way into the home. Patrick and Cheryl were found in separate rooms of the residence, and both were deceased when police arrived, with “pooling of blood formed around their heads.” They added that Patrick was found next to a loaded revolver with two spent shell casings and three live rounds.
There were no signs of struggle in the home. The welfare check that caused police to visit was due to Patrick’s parents being concerned over not hearing from their son for some time.
The autopsy on both individuals was completed on April 3, and it determined that they both died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The police stated that “Cheryl Schriefer was shot in the back of the head at close range, and her death is ruled as a homicide. Patrick died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his death is ruled as a suicide.”
2. Patrick Was Concerned That Cheryl Had Coronvirus & She Had Recently Been Tested for COVID-19
The press release from the Will County Sheriff’s Office also includes their belief of the motive for the murder-suicide. They say that Patrick’s family arrived on the scene and told officers that “Patrick had been scared that he and Cheryl had contracted the COVID-19 virus” and that she had actually been tested a few days ago.
They added that Cheryl had apparently been having some difficulty breathing. The family did not believe that Cheryl had received the COVID-19 test result at the time of her death. During the autopsy, both tested negative for COVID-19 coronavirus.
3. Patrick Jesernik Appeared to Be a Retired Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy
Patrick Jesernik, often referred to as Pat Jesernik Jr., appeared to have recently retired as a sheriff’s deputy with Cook County. Current and former members of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office have been posting tributes to Patrick on Facebook, saying “he just retired not long ago,” and “R.I.P. My Brother In Blue.”
He is also listed on the payroll for a few years between 2011 and 2014 as a Correctional Officer with the Department of Corrections in Cook County, Illinois.
4. Cheryl Was a Mother From Shorewood Illinois
Cheryl Schriefer was a mother to a grown-up daughter. She was very proud of her daughter, posting photos with her daughter in a wedding dress and after her graduation from university with a bachelor’s in psychology.
According to Cheryl’s profile, she worked at Walmart and lived in Lockport, Illinois. She had her profile listed as “in a relationship” although it appears neither Cheryl nor Patrick posted photos of the two together. They did appear to go snowmobiling together back in 2013, but it’s unclear how long they were together.
5. Patrick Was a Big Fan of Motorcycles & Frequently Posted About Them
Jesernik frequently posted about motorbikes and minibikes and was a member of NWI Minibike Riders on Facebook.
One member of the group posted: “Sad to say Pat Jesernik is no longer with us.. I only met him once but we talked about bikes quite a bit, he was a member here. Just figured id let you guys know…”
Jesernik posted some photos of himself when he was younger riding motorbikes and repairing them. He also shared a number of photos about awareness of motorcycle riders and the importance of checking twice.