‘I’ve been sentenced to a lifetime of grief’: Illinois State Police continuing Tyler Smith investigation two years after his death

Local News

A mother still wants answers two years after her son’s death.

Tyler Smith was a Western Illinois University graduate, and a member of the Army National Guard.

The 23-year-old was found dead on September 15, 2018.

He was reported to be with some friends in downtown Galesburg the day before that, but they got separated.

No one knows why. His body was found in a creek about a block north of the Casey’s General store in Galesburg.

Illinois State Police recently got involved in the case.

“I’ve been sentenced to a lifetime of grief, but yet I don’t know how to grieve because you don’t have your answers yet,” says Sandra Halsne, Tyler’s mother.

It’s been two years since Sandra Halsne has last held her son.

“The last few years have been really rough. Since Tyler’s passing, it’s been a nonstop fight to find justice, and find answers, and getting somebody to truly see Tyler as a victim and investigate,” says Halsne.

Halsne says Tyler was in the Army National Guard, a Western Illinois graduate, and he had aspirations to become a police officer. She says, fond memories, like those of her son, give her the strength to keep fighting.

“We won’t give up, so until we get our answers, we’re going to be here fighting for him. He would do the same for me or anyone else,” says Halsne.

Halsne says she’s grateful for the help of the Illinois State Police, who just recently announced their involvement in the case.

“It’s nice to know that we have some people who are investing time into Tyler’s case. We feel very confident that they will take the time, and that they will look into every lead,” says Halsne.

Leads, she says, will probably never bring her and her family closure, but she says she’s hoping Tyler’s death can bring about change.

“One day, maybe us going through what we’re going through right now, another family won’t have to,” says Halsne.

The family set up a Facebook page called Pledges for Tyler Smith Information Reward.

Anyone with information about what happened could get the reward money.

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