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Family member: Death of Cary man found unresponsive at McHenry County Jail was a suicide

Thomas Doheny, 51, of Cary
Thomas Doheny, 51, of Cary

The partner of a Cary man who was found unresponsive at the McHenry County Jail told the Northwest Herald that the man killed himself because he couldn’t keep up with the $20,000 a month child support payments.

Thomas M. Doheny, 51, of Cary, was found unresponsive in a single occupant jail cell at the McHenry County Jail on November 16 while guards were conducting rounds, McHenry County Coroner Dr. Anne Majewski said. Doheny was transported by ambulance to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m.

The McHenry County Coroner said that the cause of death is pending further investigation, but Doheny had “no suspicious injuries or significant natural disease.”

According to the Northwest Herald who spoke with Doheny’s partner, Sandra Avila, Doheny had been incarcerated at the McHenry County Jail since November 1 for contempt of court because he was behind on his child support stemming from a 2014 divorce.

Court records show that McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge ordered Doheny to stay at the McHenry County Jail for an “indeterminate period” until he could pay the $125,000 that he owed, the Northwest Herald reported.

“How do they expect him to pay for something when he doesn’t have it – and now he’s in jail?” Avila said to the Northwest Herald. “He was trying to make the best he could, and they took that away from him. That’s something that’s wrong with the system, and that’s something that’s got to change.”

According to a news article by the Patch, Doheny was working to reduce the $20,000 monthly child support payments to his ex-wife, which he could no longer afford like he could five years ago.

The Patch also reported that Doheny made 260 court appearances in the last two years in attempts to lower the $20,000 a month payment. The anonymous source also told the Patch that Doheny’s company hired an attorney to keep up with all the subpoenas his ex-wife sent.

The Northwest Herald reported that Doheny left behind letters for Avila and his four children. Police have yet to release the letters to the family.

Doheny worked in the sewer cleaning industry for over 30 years. He owned Doheny Equipment and Supplies based in Island Lake.

The McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office are investigating the death.


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