Andrew Sucher, 25, is accused of brutally beating social worker Pamela Knight after she tried to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody. Carroll County Sheriff
Andrew Sucher, 25, is accused of brutally beating social worker Pamela Knight after she tried to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody. Carroll County Sheriff

National

The social worker was there to help the 2-year-old, cops say. But she was blindsided.

By Crystal Hill

chill@mcclatchy.com

February 08, 2018 07:19 PM

Andrew Sucher, 25, felt he was being harassed by the child welfare agency, his mother told 911 operators.

The investigator with Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services had gone to Sucher’s parents’ home in Milledgeville, Illinois (about 125 miles west of Chicago) to take a 2-year-old relative of Sucher into protective custody after Sucher was charged with beating a 6-year-old boy, authorities said, The Chicago Tribune reported.

But when Pamela Sue Knight, 59, got to the home, Sucher allegedly knocked her to the ground and kicked her in the head, The Chicago Tribune said.

That’s when Sucher’s mother made the frantic 911 call, WQAD 8 reported.

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“...He feels like he’s being harassed by them and so he attacked her,” Angela Sucher had said on the call. “My son attacked a DCFS worker. She’s laying on the cement,” she said, the news station reported.

Angela Sucher could be heard whispering: “Oh my God, I can’t take her scream; it’s driving me crazy,” The Chicago Tribune reported.

The beating last September left Knight in a coma with a fractured skull and severe brain injuries, the Associated Press reported. Knight could no longer speak, communicating through eye movements, and was undergoing physical therapy to help her regain movement in her arms and legs, Sauk Valley Media reported.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year. According to Purva Grover, M.D., a pediatric eme McClatchyMeta Viers/McClatchy; Cleveland Clinic

On Thursday, a spokesperson for DCFS announced that Knight had died, the AP said. An autopsy is planned for Friday.

Andrew Sucher was charged with attempted first-degree murder after the attack, Sauk Valley Media reported. He has pleaded not guilty, the AP reported. Prosecutors haven’t said whether the charges against him will be upgraded.

Knight had been assigned to the DCFS office in Sterling, Illinois, The Chicago Tribune said. Workers aren’t allowed to carry weapons on home visits, but can ask for police accompaniment, the newspaper said.

Knight first went with a police escort to Andrew Sucher’s residence, the newspaper reported, but he wasn’t home. When she decided to check his parents’ home, she didn’t request assistance, police said.