Metro-East News

May 22, 2014

Man dead in reported suicide at St. Clair County judge's former home

A 23-year-old man hanged himself early Thursday morning on the lawn of a house owned by St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida.

According to St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Capt. Scott Weymouth, the house is Haida's former residence and he no longer lives there.

Haida's son, however, lives in the house in the 100 block of South Fairway Drive in unincorporated Belleville.

Authorities did not release the victim's name, but there was a moment of silence for Tyler Rybicki before the Belleville East at Belleville West baseball game Thursday.

Rybicki was a 2009 graduate of Belleville West. He was a right-handed pitcher who pitched one season at Blackburn College in Carlinville.

He also played American Legion ball for the Belleville Hilgards and was the junior American Legion coach.

Belleville West coach Lee Meyer said he saw Rybicki come up through junior high and had looked forward to seeing Rybicki pitch for West.

"It was a tough day for us," Meyer said. "We lost a former player today, and that's a real tough day on our kids. So mentally, today was exhausting."

Rybicki loved to compete on the mound, but he was a friend off the mound, Meyer said.

"He was a good teammate; he was respected by the coaching staff," Meyer said. "You love to have kids like that play for you. I'm honored that I was able to coach him, and I just wish we could step back in time 24 hours and make things different. But unfortunately, we can't."

Meyer said there were no signs anything was wrong.

"His friends in baseball were the most important things in his life," Meyer said. "They were starting the season in four days in Junior Legion and they had a (function Wednesday) night that he was at."

Weymouth said there is no suspicion of foul play although investigators have not yet learned why the man would have been suicidal.

"It was a complete surprise," Weymouth said. "Everyone is in shock right now."

The call came into the 911 phone system at 6:38 a.m. A white hearse left with the body shortly after 9 a.m.

When asked whether the victim had been in trouble with the law previously, Weymouth said "never." When asked whether the Sheriff's Department had responded to any previous problems at the home, he said "none at all."

Weymouth described the victim as a friend of Haida's son.

Haida was at the home Thursday morning speaking with investigators, but he left without talking to the media.

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