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home : news : news   May 24, 2016

1/18/2013 6:01:00 PM
Civil suit dismissed in toilet-bowl drowning death case

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA— A La Salle County judge threw out a wrongful death lawsuit Friday brought by the family of a woman who drowned in a toilet bowl in 2006.

Tracy Lynn Cusick’s survivors had sued Tracy’s husband, Kenneth Cusick, last year in a civil action in which they blamed Kenneth for her drowning in a toilet bowl. Late last year, however, the plaintiffs’ attorney withdrew from the case and a new attorney has not taken up their case.

As a result, La Salle County Circuit Judge Eugene P. Daugherity threw out the case Friday for “want of prosecution.” The case can be re-filed, however.

Lead plaintiff Katrina Gibbons could not be immediately reached for comment and her former attorney was not in his office Friday.

Cusick’s attorney, Michael Fuller ofOttawa, declined comment.

The now-dismissed complaint alleged Kenneth Cusick “knowingly and intentionally forced Tracy’s head into a toilet bowl, submerging her head under toilet water, until she died from drowning and asphyxiation.”

Kenneth Cusick had called 911 and told police he’d found his wife with her face in a toilet and down on all fours. He never has been charged with a crime.

However, Tracy’s death was ruled a homicide in a 2011 coroner’s inquest. After obtaining an exhumation order for Tracy’s body, a new pathologist conducted an autopsy and located an abrasion under Tracy’s chin as well as her forehead, plus sub-dermal hemorrhages and cartilage damage in the rear ofTracy’s lower head and upper neck.

Authorities also testified it would be difficult for an adult (or even a child) to intentionally keep a nose and mouth underwater for a sustained period.

La Salle County state’s attorney Brian Towne declined comment on Friday’s ruling, saying the civil case has no bearing on the ongoing criminal investigation.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or

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