UPDATE: The Winnebago County Coroner has completed the autopsy in a weekend murder-suicide that claimed the lives of a well-known political science professor and his two boys.  

The cause of death in all three individuals was found to be a single gunshot wound to the head for Peter Ruckman, a renowned political science professor and his 14-year old son Christopher and 12-year old son John.    

All were found dead Saturday inside their Cherry Valley home.  

Court records show Ruckman’s wife, Heidi, had filed for divorce in July.  The divorce was the only court case on file in Winnebago County.  


Coroner: Murder-suicide victims are Rock Valley College professor and sons 

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Coroner confirms that the man police believe killed his two sons and then turned the gun on himself is a Rock Valley College professor.

P.S. Ruckman started at Rock Valley back in 1988 — and quickly built a reputation on as an expert on local and national politics.

So it was a true shock to many — including many in the media — when they learned what happened inside his home on Chandon Woods Drive in rural Winnebago County.

58-year-old Ruckman and his two children — 14-year-old Christopher and 12-year-old John — were found shot dead inside his home. Police are investigating it as a double murder-suicide.

Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz had to examine the scene himself.

“It’s very very difficult,” said Hintz. “The children being innocent bystanders in whatever took place, and the sorrow and the sadness for the remaining family members that are alive that have to go through and deal with this.”

There were signs of domestic turmoil in Ruckman’s life. Divorce proceedings from his wife were finalized last year, and a hearing was held in November to determine a parenting plan for his two children.

So why would a man so respected by his colleagues and valued in his community commit such a horrific act? We’ll likely never know.

“Very very sad situation, very tragic,” added Hintz.