Two Boys Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide In Winnebago County Were Not In School Thursday Or Friday

Mar 3, 2018

Officials say the two sons of a former Rock Valley College professor who died in an apparent murder-suicide this weekend were not in school Thursday or Friday.

Credit "Police Line / Police Tape" By Flickr User Tony Webster (CC BY 2.0)

The Rockford Register Star reports P.S. Ruckman’s ex-wife Heidi called the school Friday to ask about the children's whereabouts.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputies made a welfare check at the home at the request of the boys' mother Saturday morning.

They were found dead of gunshot wounds in their home in the 4600 block of Chandan Woods Drive, near the intersection of South Perryville and Linden roads in an unincorporated area of Winnebago County.

Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz confirmed that the deceased are P.S. Ruckman, 58, and his two sons, John Ruckman, 12, and Christopher Ruckman, 14.

The boys attended Rockford Christian schools and were talented musicians.

Rock Valley College officials issued a statement that Dr. Ruckman had been a professor of political science there since 1998. 

“The Rock Valley College community is devastated by the news of the tragic deaths of Peter Ruckman, and his two children,” stated Dr. Doug Jensen, President of Rock Valley College. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Professor Ruckman and his children at this difficult time.” 

The College is providing grief counseling services to its employees and students.

Ruckman had previously taught courses at Northern Illinois University. NIU officials say he most recently worked for the university as an adjunct professor in spring 2017, when he taught an online course about the American Presidency. He also had been interviewed on several occasions on Northern Public Radio as well as broadcast and newspaper outlets across the country related to his work on presidential pardons.