Grandfather speaks out about death of 3-year-old boy

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

GILLESPIE, IL (KTVI) - There were new details Wednesday on the investigation into the death of a three-year-old boy from Gillespie, Illinois.

Little Ryder Vercoglio was apparently beaten to death, said his grandfather, Bill Vercoglio.

Illinois State Police and Gillespie Police confirm a homicide investigation, but say little else.

Ryder’s grandfather said he wanted people to know what happened to his darling grandson.

He also wanted them to know about a scholarship fund to help someone else live a life Ryder won’t get to live.

“The cutest dimples you ever saw,” Bill Vercoglio said.  “That little guy you never know – he might have been somebody who cured cancer or aids or something.”

A grandfather’s grief has been made only worse by the wait for an arrest.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the 911 call from Ryder’s home:  a reported seizure.

Ryder was in the care of his mother’s live-in boyfriend, police said.

Doctors found Ryder had severe brain and spinal cord trauma.

He died at Cardinal-Glennon Hospital two days later.

“[Doctors] said he was hit with enough force to be equivalent to being in a car seat, not strapped in, that car seat hitting a brick wall at 60 mph, and him flying through the windshield.  He was hit with that much force,” Bill Vercoglio said.

Police have yet to name a suspect or make an arrest.

Ryder’s grandpa said he and Ryder’s father Troy, were confident the slow pace of the investigation was a sign police were being thorough to ensure justice for a family that boasted 4 living generations New Year’s Day.

That ended 4 days later with the passing of a boy who’d beaten the odds from his 1st breath, born premature, weighing 2 pounds.  He spent more than three months in a hospital, before going home for the first time Christmas Day, 2011.

“I didn’t think he was going to make it then.  Glad he did.  He was just a bundle of joy,” Bill Vercoglio said, fighting tears.  “I’d love for the scholarship to grow to enough that it would actually be able to put somebody through college to be a doctor or a nurse or somebody that could help or a social worker to try to help kids like this.”

He said Ryder’s organs were donated, saving the life of a girl in Nebraska.

Ryder's father is in nursing school now.

He and Ryder’s grandfather live together.

Ryder was in their care 2 days-a-week.

The Vercoglio men are struggling under the emotional weight of their profound grief.

You can donate to the Ryder Austin Vercoglio Scholarship Fund at the First National Bank of Staunton: 

115 Elm Street
Staunton, IL 62088
618-635-2234

Follow Andy Banker on Twitter and Facebook:
Twitter@andybankertv
Facebook@andybankerfox2
Email: andy.banker@tvstl.com

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

Popular

Latest News

More News