In May of 2011, a concerned neighbor called the police after hearing gun shots ringing out from the home of 81-year-old Glen Tucker. Described as a private man, Tucker often kept to himself, along with his wife Joan. Tucker’s neighbor, Douglas Harrison, claims that Tucker had seemed to be depressed since a stroke left his wife paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair.
Weeks before hearing the shots, Harrison recalls a conversation he had with Tucker. Tucker stated point blank, “When life gets unbearable, I’ll be gone.” When Harrison jokingly enquirers about Tucker’s cat, Tucker shot back, “I’ll do him first”.
That morning, Harrison saw Tucker wheeling his garbage out to the curb. Harrison attempted to make a bit of neighborly small talk with Tucker, but the old man ignored him. Several minutes after walking back into his home the gun shots began, one right after another. When police arrived on the scene they found Joan Tucker, dead and hunched over in her wheelchair. Upstairs, Glen Tucker was found face down in a pool of blood. Cradled in Tucker’s arms next to a warm gun was Luther the cat, also pronounced dead on arrival.
Investigators believed that Glen Tucker was just a depressed, elderly man who decided that life had gotten the best of him and felt no need to continue on, and the case was closed. Little did anyone know that the quiet old man from Little Torch Key, FL was hiding a dark and sadistic past.
Enter Doctor Demento
Within the state of Wisconsin, Glen Tucker had once been a renowned plastic surgeon, that is, before the malpractice suits began. Six people stepped forward and claimed that Tucker had intentionally disfigured them or performed procedures on them that led to the worsening of per-existing conditions. One patient included a woman by the name of Jan Lehman. Lehman had consulted with Dr. Tucker after a poorly-timed cartwheel left Lehman with a broken nose and a trip to the ER. Tucker examined Lehman’s nose and determined that it would require surgery.
He immediately prepped Lehman for the procedure and provided painkillers. Lehman awoke the next day to shooting pains through her sinus cavity and her eyes looked as if they had been blackened in a fist fight. She routinely followed up with Dr. Tucker for two months with little, if any, improvement. Tucker suggested that she needed a second surgery. Lehman found it odd that a broken nose turned into such a complicated affliction, but agreed to undergo the operation.
The second procedure was unusual from the beginning, according to Lehman. She said that while under anesthesia she awoke to find Tucker wheeling her from the surgical prep room down a hallway. He attempted to take Lehman into an operating room, which was still being cleaned by a janitor, and instead he took her into a second room, which had been left completely unoccupied. No nurses, no other hospital staff, only Dr. Tucker and Lehman.
When Lehman awoke from the procedure she still had tubing in her nose. Dr. Tucker grabbed the tubing and ripped it out, tearing all of the stitches within her nose. Lehman knew right away that something was not right, and was filled with the fear that Tucker had made her nose worst. For a month Lehman was left in severe pain. She rinsed her sinuses regularly with saline and did everything someone recovering from nasal surgery is instructed to do in order to promote healing, but nothing had helped.
Lehman scheduled another appointment with Tucker. While in the waiting room Lehman blew her nose into a tissue she had pulled from her pocket. Inside was oozing florescent yellow mucous. Lehman began crying and showed the tissue to Tucker immediately. He claimed that the tissue was clear and she just “didn’t want to get better”. She claimed that she immediately fled, knowing that Tucker was boldly lying to her face about her condition.
Lehman, rightfully, sought out a second opinion through a doctor a friend referred her to. The doctor shined a light into Lehman’s sinus cavity and pulled out a piece of gauze left inside by Tucker. For months the gauze was allowed to fester within Lehman’s nose, causing severe infection. Lehman spent months fighting this infection and abscesses within her nasal cavity.
Convinced that Tucker was following her one afternoon, Lehman left town. Fearing for her life, she had no doubt in her mind that Tucker had intentionally tried to injure her. Although it was a long shot, as malpractice suits were often thrown out and victims were treated like common criminals, Lehman was determined to pursue her complaint. That’s when Lehman discovered she wasn’t the only one to suffer at the hands of Dr. Glen Tucker.
Another woman, Mary, went to Dr. Tucker for breast augmentation surgery. Like Lehman, Mary left with a horrible infection and excruciating pain. She agreed to undergo two more follow-up surgeries. On the last one Mary left a note describing everything that she had been through with Dr. Tucker, fearful that she may not make it out alive. She said that the horrible scarring around her breasts resembled football stitching, and she endured much worst than a botched boob job.
Mary said that during one procedure Tucker had stuck her in the breast with a large needle without anesthetic. She claimed in another incident Tucker pulled part of an implant out of an incision, again with no anesthetic to dull the pain. Even after the nurses protested, seeing that Mary was clearly in pain, Tucker sat stone-faced and continued on with his procedure.
Two other cases emerged. One man sought the help of Dr. Tucker for spasms he was experiencing in his left arm. He later lost the arm completely. A woman having just lost over 100 pounds hoped Tucker could assist her by removing excess skin around her abdominal area, arms, and breasts. Like the other cases, the woman’s operation required over a dozen follow-up surgeries to correct Dr. Tucker’s work. Although Wisconsin was known to have leniency towards doctors in malpractice suits, four of the six cases found Tucker medically negligent.
The Disappearance of Dr. Glen Tucker
Tucker was ordered to pay at least $58,000 in legal settlements. On June 27, 1982 Tucker reportedly left for a fishing trip. Growing concerned, Mrs. Tucker phoned the police because Dr. Tucker had not returned home. His canoe was later found flipped over and a jacket belonging to Tucker washed ashore several days later. A body was never recovered, leaving authorities suspicious that Tucker was attempting to fake his own death. Two friends of the Tuckers’ claimed he had seen Dr. Tucker walking down the road about five miles away from the Tuckers’ home. A life raft and a knife were also recovered in the woods near the area Tucker was fishing, hidden beneath a bundle of sticks and leaves.
Even with the suspicious nature of Tucker’s disappearance, there was no crime involved and all the police could do is document him as a missing person. For six months no one knew where Tucker was. Even his wife had little hope of Tucker ever being found. During this period six more complaints from former patients were filed against Tucker and Tucker’s insurance was forced to pay out over $1 million dollars on Tucker’s behalf.
Then one day Joan received a startling phone call. It was Tucker’s brother Ross. He told Joan that Glen was living in Florida. She sold their home in Milwaukee and joined him there.
Emotionally Ill Man
According to Tucker’s daughter, Virginia, she often looked up to her father. When he first began practicing plastic surgery Dr. Tucker often helped burn victims and other severely deformed individuals. She said that he dedicated his life to helping people and when plastic surgery turned into predominately vanity procedures, Tucker cashed in handsomely.
Virginia stated that in spite of his success, Tucker began to struggle with depression. He never sought help though, and instead kept up a rigorous schedule, being on-call at a local hospital. Once the lawsuits began to emerge, Tucker snapped. She says that when both her and her mother learned that Glen was alive and living in Florida, they immediately wanted to go to him. They knew he was struggling and needed them to be there for him emotionally. She feels that with proper psychological treatment, Tucker’s depression and the malpractice allegations could have been prevented entirely and allowed Glen to live a functional life.
Tucker fled to Florida to live in anonymity. He understood that he would never be able to live in Wisconsin due to the harassment over his botched surgeries, nor ever work within his field again. Though some claim that Tucker’s motive for faking his death and fleeing to Florida was so he could escape the piling settlement suits against him, Virginia claims that the truth was Tucker was emotionally broken and needed to leave for a fresh start.
When Tucker’s first wife, Joan, died at 73, Virginia says that he was completely lost. She encouraged him to use a dating service and through the internet he met his second wife, also named Joan. He moved her into his home and officially married her in 2005. After Joan’s stroke she was taken to assisted living, but later pulled out against Tucker’s wishes and brought back to his home. Tucker resented the fact that he had to care for Joan and even confided in neighbors that he did not want her there. Five days after Joan was brought back home to Tucker is when he shot her, himself, and the cat.
When word got out about the murder-suicide in Florida, former patients of Tucker’s heard the news. After Jan Lehman read the article she was shocked. She described Tucker as a “monster” who had left her face permanently disfigured. She compared Tucker to Hannibal Lecter and is convinced that the murder-suicide was Tucker’s last chance to inflict pain upon another.
Other patients also corroborate Lehman’s opinion that Tucker was interested in nothing but dedicating his life to pure evil. Tucker’s daughter Virginia stands by her dad. She says that yes, her dad did perform bad surgeries, but he did not seek to purposely disfigure or injure anyone. She describes her father as a good doctor who devoted his life to helping people. When he took his life, along with his wife’s, it wasn’t because he wanted to hurt anyone. He was simply at the end of his rope. He couldn’t bear to think that no one would be around to care for his wife, or little Luther the cat, and death was the only option.
Incompetent doctor struggling with the throws of depression, or a sadistic madman who delighted in the pain of others? No one may ever know the real story behind the disgraced Dr. Tucker, or know what drove him to kill his wife and cat before turning the gun on himself that day. The only thing that is certain is that at least a dozen patients have suffered life-long injuries at the hands of Dr. Glen Tucker.