published Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Sweetwater police detective suspended in wife’s beating

by Andrew Pantazi

A Sweetwater, Tenn., police detective accused of beating his wife has been suspended for 30 days.

Detective Bill Illingworth’s wife, Diana, recently went to the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office complaining that her husband had been abusing her, officials said.

Tenth Judicial District Attorney General Steve Bebb asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the issue, and Sweetwater Police Chief Eddie Byrum suspended Illingworth.

Neither of the Illingworths could be reached for comment.

Assistant Chief Mike Jenkins said that suspending Illingworth around the holidays hurts the short-staffed department.

“We’re a small department,” Jenkins said Friday. “Anytime you don’t have full staff, there’s a little bit of strain.”

Bebb said he’s waiting for a written report from the TBI to conclude the investigation.

“As far as I know, we’ve talked to everyone we’re supposed to,” he said. “The agent just has to get his report typed up and back to me. But it’s holiday time, and I can’t be too demanding.”

In the meantime, he said the wife and two children are safe. “Everybody’s happy right now,” he said.

“Let’s just see after the holidays how everyone feels after I talk to them.”

He said he’ll deal with the case at the beginning of next week and talk to both Bill and Diana Illingworth.

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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