The brutal death of Mr. Clementz in the care of the Murray Developmental Center is
tragic. It is indicative of a culture that uses “punishment” showering! The Arc mourns
Last spring, the Going Home Coalition including The Arc called for the closing the
closing of six of the seven fully operational state institutions in Illinois. Research has
proven that people with disabilities live safer and healthier lives in small community
homes. In addition, small community homes are extremely cost effective when
compared to the cost of obsolete state institutions. The state now spends $429 million
on state institutions. There are now 14 states without state institutions and Illinois
remains one of the most institutionalized states in America with 1,700 individuals
confined in those state institutions.
The Arc of Illinois once again calls upon Governor Rauner to begin closing Murray
once again, and five other fully operational state institutions in Illinois.
It is time!
See unbelivable story on the death below.
Murray Center Death Ruled Homicide
By Toby Gullion
A coroner’s inquest ends with the finding that the death of a Murray Center Resident
was a homicide. The six person coroner’s jury took 90 minutes before reaching the
unanimous decision in the March 30th death of 46-year-old Todd Clementz.
Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon called two witnesses to the stand. The
Southern Bureau Chief of the Department of Human Services Jim Nesler and
Special Agent Tom Hatley of the Illinois State Police Internal Investigations Unit.
Hatley spoke to the specifics of the investigation and told the jury that according to
witness statements it was determined that Clementz had taken a bath at around 7pm.
After a snack was given around 8:30, it was also determined that Clementz wanted to
go to bed. Clementz was classified 1 on 1 duty, which meant he needed someone
within arms reach of him at all time, including during sleep. It was also determined
that the employee involved in the case, Mental Health Technician Chris Duguay,
would give what was known as punishment showers, meant to encourage the
residents to stay awake.
While given one of these “punishment” showers, Mr. Clementz started to cough and
choke on the water which caused him to cough up food particles from his dinner and
snack which ultimately led to his death.
Cannon followed Hatley’s testimony with a description of the autopsy report and
Murray Center Parents Association President Rita Winkeler says this incident would
not have happened if former Governor Pat Quinn and his administration wasn’t in
such a hurry to close down the Murray Center.
“This is really something that never should have happened. During the past
administration with Governor Quinn and our past administration at Murray Center
were doing everything to hasten the closing of Murray Center.”
Winkler added, “Our parents association and myself contacted them over and over
again to improve staffing, to go back to the training they have done in the past. And
in their hurry to try and close us they put people in place who were not qualified. The
worker involved in this was not a long time worker at Murray Center and was not
properly trained. And now that we have a new administrator we are back to the way
it should be.”
State Representative Charlie Meier has also been a Murray Center advocate and
echoed Winkeler’s thoughts.
“I’m thankful that a very good investigation is going on. This is what I asked for and
encouraged the state police to get to the bottom of this. When they started bringing
in unqualified staff we were very fearful of this. When complaints were brought in to
past administration they just seemed to turn their back on them.
Meyer added, “This does show we have a new administration in Springfield that will
thoroughly check things out. And how many deaths in CILA’s are never reported at
all. If not for the very qualified staff there to turn this in, this never would have
The coroner noted it would be up to the Clinton County State’s Attorney to decide if
charges should be filed in the case. An official in the office Friday morning said that
State’s Attorney John Hudspeth has received the information and is currently
The Marion County Coroner ended up in charge of determining the cause of death
because Clementz died at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in the Marion County
portion of Centralia, while Murray Center where the original incident occurred is in the
Clinton County portion of Centralia.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423