Illinois man who killed wife and then himself feared both had COVID-19, police say

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WILL COUNTY -- A man who killed his wife and then himself earlier this week in southwest suburban Lockport Township told family that he feared he and his wife had contracted the coronavirus, according to police.

About 8 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to the 400 block of Bruce Road for a wellbeing check and found Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, lying dead in separate rooms of the house, the Will County sheriff’s office said. A loaded revolver with two spent shells and three live rounds was located near Patrick Jesernik’s body.

Family arriving to the home told police that Jesernik had been afraid that he and his wife had contracted the coronavirus, and that Schriefer was tested two days ago after stating she was having a hard time breathing, authorities said. The family said that to their knowledge, they had not yet received the test results.

An autopsy conducted Friday found that Schriefer and Jesernik both died from a single gunshot to the head, with Jesernik’s death ruled a suicide and Schriefer’s death ruled a homicide, authorities said. Both tested negative for coronavirus.

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The sheriff’s office said the majority of calls they have received during the coronavirus outbreak have been related to domestic disputes, but had never responded to a domestic incident at the address at Jesernik and Schriefer’s home before.

Any Will County residents who need an order of protection or additional resources or information in regards to domestic violence can call Bonnie McPhillips, the Will County sheriff’s office social worker, at 815-724-1878.