Sheriff: Man killed woman before turning gun on self because he feared they had COVID-19

Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 06, 2020

WILL COUNTY, Ill. – Authorities in the Chicago area say a man shot and killed a woman before turning the gun on himself, because he feared they had contracted the coronavirus.

The bodies of Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, were found in separate rooms of a Lockport Township home last Tuesday, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office. Officers didn't reveal whether they were married or dating.

Both of the deceased had pools of blood around their heads and had obvious signs of trauma.

The sheriff’s office says a loaded revolver, containing two spent shell casings and three live rounds, was located near Jesernik’s body. Officers say there were no signs of struggle, the home was neat and there were no signs of forced entry.

Deputies were called to the home for a welfare check after Jesernik’s parents reported that they had not heard from their son in a while.

When family arrived on scene, they told officers that Jesernik had been scared that he and Schriefer had COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and that Schriefer had been tested two days prior. It was reported that she was having a hard time breathing. The family stated that to their knowledge, she had not received the test result.

An autopsy conducted on Friday showed that both died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head. Schriefer was shot in the back of the head at close range and her death was ruled a homicide. Jesernik died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his death is ruled as a suicide.

Both Schriefer and Jesernik tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

In a press release, officers warned of the danger of domestic violence and provided resource for the local community.

“During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of service calls that Deputies have been responding to, involve domestic disputes and crisis intervention calls,” wrote the sheriff’s office.

If you are a victim or domestic violence or know someone who is, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline here.