Pamela Knight, an employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) who was once assaulted while trying to take a child into protective custody, has died in hospital, officials say.
Andrew Sucher, 25, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted first-degree murder of Pamela Knight on September 29, 2017. He is currently being held at Stephenson County.
On the day of the assault, Knight arrived at Sucher’s parents’ home in Milledgeville, Illinois to remove his two-year-old son from the premises. The boy had been placed under the custody of his grandparents due to his father’s violent behavior and prior run-ins with the law.
Sucher allegedly became so agitated that he pushed Knight to the ground and kicked her in the head. The beating fractured her skull and caused permanent brain damage.
Sucher then allegedly fled the scene on foot, leaving his mother Angela at the scene with the injured DCFS worker. Angela called 911 and told the dispatcher to send an ambulance to her address immediately.
Pamela Knight Dies after Surgery
Pamela Knight recently received treatment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. On February 4, 2018, she was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.
Knight died at Northwestern on February 9. The cause and manner of her death have not been determined and an autopsy is pending.
DCFS director Beverly Walker released the following statement on Thursday: “DCFS is deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague, Pamela Knight. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pamela’s family during this difficult time. We are forever grateful for her work to help children and families in Illinois.”
She went on to say that “the work many DCFS workers do is not easy. Frontline staff are first responders to children and families in crisis and Pamela’s work has always set an example for all of us who work to protect children.”
Statistics show that DCFS workers often face danger on the job. While they can request a police escort to accompany them to their appointments, there aren’t always enough officers available to do so.
After the attack on Knight, Walker said the DCFS was looking to hire more personnel.
Sucher is scheduled to appear in court on February 23 following a psychiatric evaluation.