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Daily Journal
March 31, 2022
#18-90 KDJ

Wounded Bradley officer continues to recoverĀ 

Daily Journal staff report

In the latest update released by the family of Bradley Police Officer Tyler Bailey, the severity of his injuries and the extent of his drive to overcome them came more fully into view.

Shared via social media through Illinois State Police District 21 Ashkum, the family said, “In the early days of his hospitalization, we were told that if Tyler lived, he would likely never recover from a vegetative state.

“Then he woke up. We were told he would likely never talk again, but he communicates daily. We were told Tyler’s injury was catastrophic and would lead to no chance of independent living, but Tyler is conscious and does not depend upon any medical devices to keep him alive.

“He is fully aware of his surroundings, he understands what he has been through, and how much hard work is ahead of him. He has regular conversations with the family, medical personnel, physical therapy staff and is able to fully cooperate in his recovery process.”

Monday’s release was the first update from the officer’s family since it announced in late January that Bailey had been moved from the Intensive Care Unit to receiving treatment in standard hospital care. He had been in the ICU for almost three weeks after being critically wounded on Dec. 29 during a police call to Comfort Inn in Bradley. Bradley Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic was shot and killed in the incident.

In January, the family said that Bailey was expected to soon be released from the hospital and moved to a rehabilitation facility.

In Monday’s update, the family said, “We didn’t have to wait long, as he was released just a few days after that update and has been working incredibly hard in his rehabilitation ever since.”

Bailey will continue his recovery in a physical therapy program while he gains his strength back.

“As with most individuals recovering from a severe head injury or long-term hospitalization, Tyler has a lot of work to do in order to build up strength and coordination in his body after all he has been through,” the family said.

The family also shared that Bailey just recently learned of Rittmanic’s death.

“Just a few days ago, in a very difficult conversation, Tyler was informed for the first time that Marlene had passed away,” the family said. “Needless to say, it hit him very hard.

“A little while later, after the emotions subsided a bit, Tyler vowed to work even harder at his recovery in memory of Marlene. His determination level has kicked into another gear as he works to get back to us here. Back to a normal life where he can again be the one helping others, after all that have helped him.”

That help — both to the family and the community as a whole — was again lauded by the family.

“Although we have thanked Tyler’s ‘other’ family of police officers, first responders and medical personnel in our previous two releases, no update can be written without again thanking all of them for the job they did and continue to do,” the family said.

“Tyler wouldn’t have made it here if not for all of these selfless human beings,” the family continued. “They do more than just a job. They keep us safe from danger. They come to our rescue when we are injured. They help us recover when in their care. These people aren’t just mentioned because of what they have done for Tyler. They are heroes every day, to everyone, and we should never stop the outpouring of gratitude and support that has been displayed by the community over the last three months.”

The family also thanked the community for its outpouring of support, both through fundraising efforts and honored requests of privacy for the family as Bailey fights for his recovery.

“In the past updates, we asked the community for privacy during these difficult times, and the community listened,” the family said. “We are immensely grateful for the respect everyone has displayed by allowing Sydney to care for and be present with Tyler every single day since the incident, without intrusion.”

Sydney is fighting right alongside her husband.

“As a young woman, newly married, Sydney was thrust into a situation that would have been incredibly difficult even for those with much more experience in life,” the family said. “Sydney has shown not only is she able to adapt quickly under the most extreme pressure, but also that she has a level of patience and maturity rarely seen in most people, regardless of age. We are all very proud of Sydney.”

Donations have come in from local organizations and even nationwide, the family said.

“Words cannot fully express the gratitude we have for everyone involved, from those who set up the fundraisers, to the thousands who have donated,” the release said. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

And through all this, the family remains thankful.

“Tomorrow will be three months since we got the call that changed our lives forever, and there are countless reasons we thank God every day, not only because Tyler is still with us, but also for the advances he has made over this time, which are nothing short of miraculous.”

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