Police officers remained near the location where school staff discovered the body until early Tuesday afternoon, when officials closed the crime scene and took down the caution tape. Credit: Duncan Agnew

The woman whose body was found Tuesday outside Evanston Township High School died by suicide, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday afternoon.

After an autopsy, the medical examiner’s office ruled the death was caused by multiple self-inflicted stab wounds to the neck.

Before releasing the cause of death, the medical examiner’s office identified the woman as 63-year-old Kathy L. Judge. According to Judge’s LinkedIn page, she worked as a youth counselor in Wilmette. Before that, she worked for a year in 2016-17 as a child care provider for Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

No residence was listed for Judge, who was pronounced dead at the scene near the tennis courts on the north side of the ETHS campus at 7:48 a.m. Tuesday, according to the medical examiner’s office. A Wednesday afternoon news release from the Evanston Police Department said she was an Evanston resident.

An ETHS staff member reported finding the body of an adult female on the school campus “near an outdoor field of the school,” according to an email from Superintendent Marcus Campbell that was sent to students and families Tuesday morning.

The school staffer first discovered the body around 7:30 a.m., EPD Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable. The first class block for ETHS students starts at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, though some students arrive earlier for programs like AM Support.

EPD launched a death investigation, the department said on Twitter. Police and school officials determined Judge was neither a school staff member nor a student, according to EPD’s tweets.

“ETHS students and staff were not in danger at any time,” Campbell said in his email. “Everyone at ETHS is safe and there is no threat during the EPD investigation on campus. ETHS classes are being held as planned.”

To secure the crime scene, police shut down Church Street between Dodge Avenue and Wildkit Drive for about an hour Tuesday morning, though Church was later opened to all traffic. No more information about the death investigation will be released publicly, EPD said in its news release.

Those in crisis can dial 988 to be connected to the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which provides 24/7 service across the U.S.

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

4 replies on “Woman’s death near ETHS ruled a suicide”

  1. You refer to the ‘scene’ as a crime scene which means that a crime has been committed? Yet the EPD, which one must assume refers to the Evanston Police Department (you don’t tell us), you report as declaring ‘the likely cause of death is not evident’. If a crime was committed wouldn’t it be in some way evident?

    1. This is a great point, Peter. There is an assumption of a possible crime when a body is found out in the open such as this. That is why the police are called in to investigate and the Cook County Medical Examiner also becomes part of the investigation. I also believe there are specific protocols for securing a “crime scene” that need to be done in any police investigation, so as not to taint any evidence that could prove what happened. (Back in my earlier days as an editor of another news outlet, we were able to discover why a 2-year-old double homicide was never solved, when we found in our archives pictures of the fire department — by order of the police chief — washing down the scene with bleach, only two hours after the people were discovered murdered. Seasoned state and local police investigators said there would be no way to have done all that was needed to process evidence in that time period. So, I personally give more attention to processing a crime scene via that experience.) But I see your questions really as more do we in our stories parrot police language, as we did in this, or can that be misleading to readers? And it is an excellent one to consider. Thank you.

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