UPDATE: Visitation for Christopher and Jack Ruckman begins

Published: Mar. 3, 2018 at 2:25 PM CST
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Updated March 8, 2018, 3:44 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Services begin for Christopher and Jack Ruckman, the two brothers found dead over the weekend in their home near Cherry Valley.

The 14 and 12-year-old brothers were students at Rockford Christian School and very involved in music. The school announced it will use memorial donations to create a music scholarship named after the brothers.

The visitation will go from 4 to 8 p.m. at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the church before a private burial in Sycamore.


Updated March 6, 2018, 4:20 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Funeral arrangements are announced for Christopher and Jack Ruckman, the two brothers killed in an apparent double murder-suicide over the weekend.

A visitation for the 14 and 12-year-old boys will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Rockford. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the church.

A music scholarship is being established at Rockford Christian High School in Chris and Jack's name.


Updated March 5, 2018, 2:30 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Winnebago County Coroner's Office says preliminary autopsy results show that Christopher, John and Peter Ruckman all died of gunshot wounds to the head.

Toxicology results will be available in three weeks.


Updated: March 4, 2018, 12:40 p.m.

UPDATE: WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - The Winnebago County Coroner's Office has identified the three people found dead inside a Cherry Valley home early Saturday morning.

The two children were Christopher Ruckman, age 14 and John Ruckman, age 12.

Peter Ruckman, age 58, was the father of the two.

Peter Ruckman had been a professor of political science at Rock Valley College since 1998.

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

RVC officials said the college will be providing grief counseling to its employees and students to help cope with the tragic event.


Posted March 3, 2018

CHERRY VALLEY, Ill. (WIFR) - Three people, two of them children, are found dead inside their home in a Cherry Valley neighborhood.

After not hearing from her two children for a few days, one area mother called police to request a welfare check.

Just after 7 a.m., police went into the house in the 4600 block of Chandon Woods Drive where they found the bodies of the boys and their father, each of them in their own bedroom with gunshot wounds.

"Deputies made entry to the house and made the discovery. There's no reason for the public to be concerned, there's no mysterious bad person roaming the neighborhood. Everything was contained to this home," said Deputy Chief Mike Schultz of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.

Although still an ongoing investigation, detectives believe the father killed the two boys and then shot himself.

"We don't know exactly what the mental state or if there's been a history of mental illness or issues with the family," added Schultz.

According to county records, the house is owned by Peter Ruckman, a nationally renowned political science professor at Rock Valley College, and Heidi Ruckman, who filed for divorce in July of 2017.

"We've gotten no reports of prior domestic violence from this address or from the people involved so this is something that appears to have come just out of the blue," said Schultz.

People living in the neighborhood said the man was quiet and kept to himself.

"It was her weekend for custody of the kids," added Schultz.

"Neighbors describe the two boys as good kids, saying the older one was an outstanding musician, often traveling to Memphis to play with bigger bands and the younger one being a great baseball player.

The names of the victims have not yet been released. The Winnebago County Coroner's Office plans to do autopsies on Monday.