Five months and still no answers for family of incarcerated Mascoutah priest who died

Belleville News Democrat

August 12, 2020

By Teri Maddox

It’s been more than five months since a former Mascoutah priest died while serving time in prison for possession of child pornography and methamphetamine, and his family still doesn’t know the cause of death or other details.

Officials have told Gerald Hechenberger’s brother and two sisters that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed a state investigation, but the siblings are getting impatient.

“I want to know what happened,” his sister, Nancy Rueter, said this week.

Hechenberger, 56, had just started serving a nine-year sentence at Pinckneyville Correctional Center when he died on March 6. Officials have declined to say whether it happened at the prison or Pinckneyville Community Hospital.

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