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Illinois State Police to investigate the death of Rochelle man

The family of Tyler Smith is looking for answers two years after his death.
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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ROCHELLE, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois State Police take over an investigation into the death of Rochelle native, Tyler Smith. Smith’s body was found along a creek in western Illinois in 2018.

“I feel like I’ve been sentenced to a lifetime of grief," says Smith’s Mother Sandy Halsne. “If somebody did something to Tyler they need to be held accountable.”

Smith went missing two years ago on a night he spent with friends in Galesburg, Illinois.

“What happened to our son that night?" says Halsne

According to our sister station, KWQC in the Quad Cities, the Galesburg Police Department called Smith’s death an accidental drowning, but a private investigator believes Tyler likely suffered a battery that directly led to his death.

“Not knowing what happened that night and knowing our son something that night and more than what we were told," says Halsne.

Smith earned a degree in criminal justice from Western Illinois University, served in the Army National Guard, and was on his way to becoming a police officer.

“We had a lot of inside jokes together and every time we hung out we always had a good time even if we were just hanging out doing nothing," says Smith’s close friend Brandon Rachas. "He was always just the life of the party.”

Halsne says she has good and bad days, but on the two year anniversary of her son’s death, she advises everyone to tell your family you love them.

“Really cherish the moments that you have and it’s not the materialistic things in life it’s the memories that you make," says Halsne

23 News reached out to Galesburg Police Chief Russell Idle for comment, he says, “At this time we are going to let the State Police take a fresh look at the investigation and assist in any way possible.”

For more information on how to report any information in regard to Smith’s death click here.

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