Hundreds of mourners say goodbye to DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Christina Musil

‘We must lean and depend on each other in this time of intense grief,” emotional Sheriff Andy Sullivan says

Bagpipers play Thursday, April 4, 2024, during the visitation and funeral for DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Christina Musil in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Musil, 35, was killed March 28 while on duty after a truck rear-ended her police vehicle in Waterman.

DeKALB – She was Deputy Christina Musil to some, “Beana” to others and, to her three children, she was Mom.

Hundreds gathered Thursday to mourn the loss of the Christina Musil they knew and to say their final goodbyes.

Musil, 35, a five-year deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office; a veteran; and a mother to children ages 5, 11 and 12 was killed almost a week ago in a car crash while on duty in Waterman. In the days since, local law enforcement communities have held that pain collectively while offering support to the sheriff’s office as it grieves one of its own.

DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Sullivan, who opened with an emotional eulogy, led a first responder procession into Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center in DeKalb.

“As a sheriff’s office, we must lean and depend on each other in this time of intense grief. We will come together as brothers and sisters and continue to serve DeKalb County,” Sullivan said. “We must come together as a family to honor Christina and ensure her legacy is not forgotten.”

More than 1,000 people, including hundreds of law enforcement officers and members of the public, joined Musil’s loved ones. Police, firefighters and state troopers from across DeKalb County and throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa filed in.

Wreaths of sunflowers and carnations adorned a memorial display with a heart-shaped flower arrangement.

The eulogies were raw, fraught with laments that Musil was taken too soon but also punctuated by declarations of her selfless nature and devotion to her kids.

Musil’s sister, Bridgette Caporaso, fondly recalled her “Beana, Beana” and said she was overwhelmed by the show of support from the law enforcement community. Caporaso attributed the solidarity display to the meaningful influence her sister had on those around her.

“Today we gather not just as family and friends, colleagues and community members, but as a collective heart meeting in unison with grief, love and profound respect for an extraordinary soul,” Caporaso said.

Nathan P. Sweeney, 44, of DeKalb was arrested by Illinois State Police on Wednesday night and charged with driving under the influence and reckless homicide in the fatal March 28 crash that killed Musil.

Musil died from her injuries in the early-morning hours of March 29.

A U.S. Army National Guard veteran, Musil served in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.

She was remembered for her humor, selflessness and having “a fervent love for sports,” according to her obituary, including New York Yankees baseball and New Jersey Devils hockey and, most of all, her children’s teams.

Dozens of photos of Musil were displayed during the morning’s visitation. Two DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office squad cars wrapped in dark purple cloth were parked on either side of the memorial, flanked by two law enforcement officers who stood vigil during the service.

Standing alone, Sullivan saluted Musil’s casket to start the processional. Immediately after their boss, DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies said goodbye to their fallen colleague, some placing sunflowers on the ground below Musil’s casket and others handing flowers to her family members seated in the first row.

A photo of fallen DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Christina Musil is displayed Thursday, April 4, 2024, during her visitation and funeral in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Musil, 35, was killed March 28 while on duty after a truck rear-ended her police vehicle in Waterman.

Musil, with badge No. 42, began her time with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in 2019 as a corrections deputy at the DeKalb County Jail. Three years later, she was transferred to the sheriff’s patrol division, Sullivan said.

“Her death reminds us we must never take our safety for granted, and our freedoms have not come without a price,” Sullivan said.

After the almost half-hour-long processional, a band of 14 bagpipe players and nine drummers from the Chicago Police Emerald Society played and marched around the arena.

Some area community leaders also attended, including multiple DeKalb County Board members.

“Today is a tough day,” board Vice Chairman John Frieders said.

As the service concluded, Illinois State Police folded an American flag draped over Musil’s casket and handed it to Sullivan, who delivered it gravely to Musil’s family.

As law enforcement personnel crowded outside the Convocation Center after the service, a gun salute was performed. Air Force veteran Michael Embrey of DeKalb played taps.

After the service, Musil and her family were escorted by a procession hundreds of cars deep back to Butala Funeral Home in Sycamore, passing by a large American flag hung from a crane by Lovett’s Towing in downtown DeKalb.

Recounting a day earlier this week, Caporaso said that she visited the fatal crash site in Waterman and ran into someone unexpected: a former DeKalb County Jail inmate. Caporaso said the man told her that he wanted to pay his respects to Musil, who had shown him kindness as a corrections deputy.

It’s that kindness that will continue to serve as a beacon, even in her sister’s loss, Caporaso said.

“Your departure has left a void that will never be filled, but the luminosity of your spirit will forever light up my path,” Caporaso said. “And we will strive to live with a fraction of your grace, your courage and unyielding commitment to others.”

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