FOX LAKE, Ill. - Fox Lake was unusually subdued over Labor Day weekend, the boating community dotted with signs, bunting and flower-strewn memorials honoring police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz. That Monday, throngs of people, among them Gov. Bruce Rauner, gathered for the funeral and miles-long procession for the fallen officer.
But that mournful pride has for many been replaced with a bitter feeling of betrayal since authorities announced Wednesday they now believe Gliniewicz - widely known in the village near the Wisconsin state line - staged his suicide to look like a murder to cover up criminal activity.
Not long after the announcement, some of the placards outside the police station honoring Gliniewicz as a hero had been defaced with words including "lied, stole, disgraced."
Maureen Kelly, who manages the local bar Club G&S, said she was so angry seeing the blue ribbons and signs honoring Gliniewicz as she drove through town that she took hers down from the bar window.
Then she thought better of it, wrote "Embarrassment!!! Low-life scumbag" and "good riddance" on the sign and put it back up.
"You feel embarrassed because you believed it," she said.
Kelly recalled seeing the officer every Wednesday when he stopped in a nearby barbershop. No one in town had a bad word to say about him, she said.
"Everybody, honestly, believed the hype," she said.
Perhaps nowhere was the sense of betrayal more acute than among the members of the local Explorer post, which Gliniewicz ran for years, mentoring young people and teaching them about police work. Now authorities believe Gliniewicz had been stealing money from the group.
Cecilia Ashbacher's 15-year-old son has been a member of the Explorers for nearly two years, she said.
"It was very shocking and hurtful," said Ashbacher, of Lake Villa, Ill. "I can't tell you how many hours these young people worked."
The Explorers often were called upon to help direct traffic and parking at the Lake County Fair, community parades and other events. They did not receive payment but were told that money they earned was going into a general account to pay for uniforms and other expenses, she said.
"Most of them are interested in becoming police officers - good police officers. And to have their mentor go off the path is going to be crushing to them.
"Joe Gliniewicz was a fantastic mentor to those kids," Ashbacher continued. "Now we all feel betrayed in a big way."
She wants the Explorers to carry on "with pride" but is worried about how to protect them from the fallout.
Ashbacher planned what she would tell her son when he came home from school. "I am going to talk to him today about the positive things he learned and that even heroes are human and have faults," she said.
The Explorers are chartered by the Boy Scouts Northeast Illinois Council.
Shawn McGee, 44, who lives near the Gliniewicz family's home in Antioch, Ill., said the officer's theft from the Explorers program was the most unsettling allegation against the officer, who authorities said had engaged in "extensive criminal acts."
"He was a good guy, everyone thought," McGee said.
Gliniewicz’s widow and a son are under criminal investigation, according to media reports that cite unnamed sources.
Melodie and D.J. Gliniewicz are being investigated in connection with the embezzlement of money from the Explorer program, the Fox TV affiliate in Chicago reported.
Lake County Sheriff's Detective Christopher Covelli said on Thursday he could not confirm or deny reports of Gliniewicz's wife and son being under investigation because the probe was ongoing and could result in prosecution.
The investigation of Gliniewicz's death "strongly indicates criminal activity on the part of at least two other individuals," Lake County Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko said on Wednesday.
Representatives for the Gliniewicz family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
On Thursday, the 100 Club of Chicago, an organization that assists families of local fallen officers, said it will ask Gliniewicz's widow to return the $15,000 donation it gave.
At Club G&S, Kelly stood behind the bar, talking about the case with four patrons.
They agreed they thought investigators were right to take their time announcing their findings, even if it was difficult to wait for answers.
And while Kelly said she still thinks Gliniewicz did good work with the Explorers, Jamie Mockus said it felt tainted by the fact that he'd profited from it.
"It's just so sad," Mockus said.
"I'm glad to just know what happened to him," Kelly said.
Reuters contributed to this report.