Second death at Murray Center also under investigation

CENTRALIA — Another Murray Center resident has died, just days after the Illinois State Police announced they were conducting an investigation into the death of a 46-year-old resident of the Centralia facility.

According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, 56-year-old Gary Farris, a resident of Murray Center, was pronounced dead Saturday morning in the Emergency Room at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Centralia, after he was discovered unresponsive in his bed by Murray Center attempting to awaken him for breakfast.

An autopsy is planned for 5 p.m. today by Coroner Troy Cannon and Dr. James Petterchak to determine a cause of Farris’ death.

The Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General and Illinois State Police are assisting the Marion County Coroner’s Office in the investigation into Farris’ death.

Farris’ death comes less than a week after the death of 46-year-old Todd Clementz, also a resident of the Murray Center.
A forensic autopsy was conducted on Clementz Saturday at the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and Morgue by Cannon and Dr. Shippim Bao.

Clementz was pronounced dead March 30th at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room in Centralia.
A spokesperson for DHS had earlier attributed his death to natural causes, but the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigations, Division of Criminal Investigations, and ISP Crime Scene Division, as well as the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General are also investigating certain components of the issues and circumstances surrounding Clementz’s death.

Coroner Troy Cannon says there is no apparent connection between the two Murray Center deaths, and they are being investigated separately.

Cannon says these are high-profile cases due to the recent scrutiny of state-operated facilities versus community-based agencies, and the fact that two deaths have occurred so close together at the same facility.

Cannon emphasizes that although the two deaths occurred on the same unit of the facility, there is no apparent connection and the two deaths are being investigated separately.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office is actively investigating two other deaths, at this time.
On Saturday afternoon, 56-year-old Michael Shuler was pronounced dead at Salem Township Hospital ER after he and his family had stopped at the I-57 Northbound Rest Area and Shuler had become unresponsive in the family vehicle.

The family was traveling back home to Gilman, Iowa from vacation in Florida. EMS was summoned and transported Shuler to the hospital. Shuler had a lengthy and significant medical history of cardiac complications, and no foul play is suspected.

Sunday afternoon, 51-year-old Lawrence Tate of Chicago became unresponsive while traveling back home from Mississippi with friends at about mile-post 119 on Interstate 57. Tate also suffered from various medical issues, and his death is also considered to be of natural causes.