Metro-East superintendent under investigation found dead -

Metro-East superintendent under investigation found dead

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The superintendent of the Freeburg Community Consolidated School District 70 was found dead at his St. Clair County home Sunday morning.

St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Dan Haskenhoff tells News 4 that Dr. Rob Hawkins, 54, was pronounced dead around 8:45 a.m.

Haskenhoff says that Hawkins was found dead in his Mustang, after his wife found a note in his handwriting that read "I love you. I'm in the barn." His death is being ruled an apparent suicide due to carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Hawkins' death comes amid an investigation by Illinois State Police. Police aren't saying much about the investigation, but the district told News 4 it stems from allegations of sexual misconduct which first surfaced years ago.

The attorney for the district says the previous investigation ruled those allegation unfounded. It's not known why the police re-opened the case, but the attorney told News 4 he believes police weren't pursuing it.

The school district has released the following statement:

We at Freeburg School District 70 are very shocked and saddened by the untimely death of our friend and colleague, Dr. Rob Hawkins. Dr Hawkins was a beloved leader and keystone of this school district and the community of Freeburg for many years. His service, dedication and leadership was an example to all. He will be desperately missed and we will remember his contributions with fondness. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones in this dark time for all of us.

As has been reported, an old investigation regarding certain allegations against Dr. Hawkins has recently been reopened. These allegations had been investigated many years ago by the Police and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. After that investigation, the allegations were determined by all investigative bodies to be unfounded. We are aware of no additional evidence or allegations being investigated currently by any law enforcement authority that differ from those that had been previously unfounded. Until such time as any additional evidence is brought to the Board of Education, we consider this matter closed.

Mr. Lawrence Meggs, former District 70 Superintendent, will serve as Interim Superintendent while we begin the healing process and a search for a permanent replacement.

We appreciate the service and leadership displayed by Dr. Hawkins during his many years with the District. We ask that everyone keep his family in their thoughts. We will miss him greatly.

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