Mercer County Clerk commits suicide

Staff reports

The Mercer County Coroner's office has confirmed that Mercer County Clerk Tom Hanson died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. His body was found just after 10 a.m. near his vehicle which was parked at the city of Aledo's south lagoon, just south of the Mercer County Fairgrounds. He was 61.

Mercer County Sheriff Tom Thompson and State's Attorney Greg McHugh announced Jan 23 that "there is no criminal investigation of recently departed Conty Clerk Tom Hanson." McHugh said the state's attorney does not comment on ongoing investigations or lack of investigations but here the family deserves to know there is no criminal investigation."

Sheriff Tom Thompson noted, "They don't comment on investigations or announce suicides."

There is a separate ongoing matter involving a county employee which at present is a confidential personnel matter.

Hanson was re-elected to a fifth term in office in 2006. He was first elected in 1990. Hanson received statewide recognition in 2006, serving as president of the Illinois Association of County Officials.

The Aledo Police Department and Mercer County Coroner's Office are handling the investigation. No other details have been released.

"He was a great citizen," said Mercer County Democratic Central 

Committee Chairman Dick Maynard. "The community and his family will 

truly miss him."

Maynard approached Hanson to run for office in 1990.

He formerly owned Hanson's True Value Hardware and Furniture Store.

He graduated from Aledo High School and attended Otttawa University.

He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

He was 61 years old and had been county clerk since 1990.

Offices of the county clerk and recorder were closed Friday with signs on the door to each reading "closed until further notice.

McHugh said he believed at least part of the office would reopen on Monday, Jan. 26.

McHugh said he believes an appointment will be made by the Democratic Party on who will fill Hanson's seat as county clerk.