One-time drug court graduate dies of aneurysm

One-time drug court graduate dies of aneurysm

URBANA — A 36-year-old Urbana woman who died after having a seizure at the Champaign County Jail on Monday was plagued by illegal drug use much of her adult life.

But Melissa S. Lackey had successfully graduated from Champaign County's drug-court program in 2008 and even inspired her husband to go through it, and won praise from a circuit judge for her work at a drug treatment center.

On Friday, Mrs. Lackey was sentenced to five years in prison for retail theft for stealing from the Meijer store in Champaign on June 18. She pleaded guilty in November and her sentencing had originally been scheduled in mid-December but was continued when her attorney told Judge Harry Clem he thought she was getting residential drug treatment at the time.

Sheriff's Capt. Allen Jones, who oversees the jail, said Mrs. Lackey's most recent admission to the jail came on Friday after her sentencing.

In a release, Sheriff Dan Walsh said correctional officers were alerted at 2:12 a.m. that she was having a seizure and, before firefighters and paramedics arrived, began CPR and revival attempts using an automated external defibrillator.

Jones said it was Mrs. Lackey's cellmate who alerted the officers, two men and a woman.

"This was an unpreventable occurrence that our officers responded to with extreme competence. I'm really proud of them," Jones said.

Mrs. Lackey was admitted to Carle Foundation Hospital, where doctors determined she suffered a brain aneurysm. She was pronounced dead at 5:34 p.m. Monday.

Walsh said preliminary medical reports indicate she died as a result of bleeding in the brain from the aneurysm. The coroner has scheduled an autopsy for Wednesday.

Mrs. Lackey was the mother of three children.

In a December 2009 interview with The News-Gazette, she revealed that she had started drinking alcohol at 12 and moved on to crack cocaine and heroin use in her late 20s before entering and graduating from the drug-court program.

The affable Mrs. Lackey even landed a job at Prairie Center, a drug treatment center, after graduating from drug court in 2008.

"She did a good job for us when she was at Prairie Center," said Judge Jeff Ford, who oversees drug court. "She was a case manager for drug court. She could relate to them real well."

"Something happened in her personal life and she was gone," said Ford, who did not know the details of her termination from the drug-treatment agency.

Court records indicate she had been charged in three criminal cases during 2011 for shoplifting-related burglaries, retail theft and a battery.

Her husband, Anthony Lackey, 42, was sentenced in August to six years in prison for burglary for entering a store at Market Place Mall in January 2011, intending to steal.

He was so inspired by his wife's 2008 success in drug court that he practically begged his way in to the program, officials said. In December 2009, Anthony Lackey also graduated from drug court. He and his wife then went to work for Mrs. Lackey's brother in a local food-delivery business.

The two of them had a daughter together. Mrs. Lackey also had two older children from a previous marriage.

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Cstraight wrote on January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

To the Mullins family, this community especially those who know Missy are devastated by the lost of this young beautiful woman. We choose to remember all the good things.  Thoughts and prayers go out to this family. R.I.P. Missy!

vetchic wrote on January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I am not sure of the purpose of this article. I knew her and I can not say we were friends but I think this article is disrespectful and pointless. I hope that all who knew her and loved her will find peace and comfort in the days to come.

jesslynn1975 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm


Shame on the News-Gazette for writing an article like this when her family is still coming to grips with such a horrible loss! I'm trying to figure out what purpose this has served. Surely this wasn’t meant to be a memorial to her life.   As your article pointed out, Missy has 3 young children. It is hard enough dealing with the loss of a loved one, but doubly hard when the media uses this as a chance to list their past transgressions. I would have found the article more balanced had the reporter also taken the time to interview some of the individuals she helped during her time with the Drug Court and Prairie Center.  I knew Missy personally and I will choose to ignore this article and remember her for the beautiful person she was. Regardless of any and all mistakes she may have made.

champ17 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

WHATS THE POINT OF THE ARTICLE MR EDITOR??? Missy was a nice person lets not bring up her past ...  R.I.P MISSY

                        lOVE YOU

jesslynn1975 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I posted my outrage to this article on my FB page and a mutual friend , Shantoya Sayles,  requested I post a comment on their behalf as well:

Why did they have to say anything other than a champaign women has a seizure in county jail and later dies at carle foundation hospital.They didn't have to write anything else if they didn't know anyting other than that. Why did they have to go through her life? And if you are gonna go through her life, go through her WHOLE LIFE. What you are talking about was only a SMALL CHAPTER ............

james33 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

GREAT JOB NG! This article was well written. This article could've just said her name, that she died after being transported to the hospital while she was waiting to be tranferred to PRISON for theft and she has a long history of criminal offenses. The New Gazette went above that painting a picture of a woman who had a struggle with drugs and mentions how much she did to help others who had the same struggles. Again "GREAT JOB N/G"! The rest of you need to embrace the life she had. This is your chance to add to the article about all the good she's done and how great of a person she was but all I read is the exact same "How Dare you NG"!

sajones217 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I am offended this article was released, especially not even 24 hours after her death. Missy was a beautiful and loving person. Inspite of her past, she was still someone's mother. Why would you publish this? Surely you aren't that hard up for a "good" article. I hope that you publish the full story surrounding yesterday's events since you didn't hesitate to publish her past.

Missy will truly be missed by those who really knew her...not just knew "of" her.

champ17 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm


Cstraight wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm


misjudged77 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I would first like to say SHAME ON YOU NG! It's a shame that she has not been deceased a full 24 hours and this is what you post?!?!? You didn't have anything else to fit in this slot! It's sickening to see that the concern here is her drug use and past criminal convictions. Do you even know her? If you did, then you would know that she was a warm, caring individual who loved all and would do anything for anyone. You would know that she had the biggest, brightest smile in the world that would just light up a room when she entered. You would know that she loved her children to death and tried to be the best mother she could be for them. DID YOU KNOW ANY OF THAT?!?!? NO! But what you did know is that she had a substance abuse problem and that she committed some crimes. SO WHAT?!?! Did you have to make this HUGE FRONT PAGE ARTICLE about her downfalls! I'm sure someone in your family is going through something similar or worse; would you want to see your family member up here made a mockery of?!?! Whomever approved this article needs to re-evaluate their position at the NG! It's distasteful and it's very, very sad. Missy you are deeply loved and missed by many and it pains me to know that this is how they wanted to display you upon your departing this lifetime, but know this Angel - we will never forget you! We will never forget who you were and what you meant to us. RIP Angel! We love you always!

sajones217 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I agree wholeheartedly!!

skeeter47 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Not even 24 hours have passed and you post an article like this?? I met Missy just within the last couple of months and the woman I met was a beautiful, sweet and caring individual with the prettiest smile ever. You should have a little more respect for the friends and family of this young woman. What was the purpose of this article? We all have a past and I'm quite sure you or someone in your family does too, but for the News-Gazette to use her death as an opportunity to publish an article that shines such a negative light on some of her rough times is shameful! The family is already dealing with enough, I'm sure this just made them feel a lot better...NOT! DISGUSTED WITH THE NEWS-GAZETTE!

Cstraight wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I couldn't have said it better skeeter.  Just another "winning" article by the N-G. And they wonder why nobody subscribes to them anymore? 

skeeter47 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thank you!!

ginzmail wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Although some people may be outraged by the News Gazette reporting on this very sad event, the fact of the matter is that it is news worthy. Even without her criminal past or the fact that it happened in a public building, it would have been reported on because of the tragedy of such a young person, and a mother of three, to die so unexpectedly. While Ms. Lackey obviously struggled with addiction, maybe what people should take away from this story is how even a loving mother, daughter, and friend can make mistakes that have unexpected and horrible consequences. I feel terrible for her family.

Yatiri wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I cannot say anything definitive about the county jail's handling of this tragic death.  What I can say from personal experience is that the psychiatric care at the Champaign County jail is incompetent, brutal, and inhumane.  For sheriff Dan Walsh to declare that it was an unpreventable occurence before an autopsy and review was even performed, is ludicrous.

Most likely this unfortunate woman was undergoing some sort of alcohol or drug withdrawal that required inpatient care.  Instead she was locked in a cell where the drug withdrawal elevated her blood pressure high enough to finally rupture her unsuspected brain aneurysm.

Were they monitoring her blood pressure and pulse at the jail?  Was she seen by a physician ever during her jail stint?

I think we need alot more information before we can irresponsibly declare, as  Dan Walsh already has, that it was unpreventable and that his people did such a competent job.

The sheriff is just posturing to avoid paying out a settlement.

Yatiri wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

The NG is just dutifully working the sheriff's agenda, throwing excrement on this woman to make the case that her death was unpreventable.

She was very ill and once again somebody dies in custody for lack of proper medical care.

yeahokay wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

First things first Yatiri, if you read the article a little more carefully you'll see it was Captain Jones who said “this was an unpreventable occurrence that our officers responded to with extreme competence. I’m really proud of them,” and not Sheriff Walsh.

Furthermore, from my comprehension of the article as written, it's clear to me that Captain Jones' competency comment was directly referring to the correctional officers who responded to the incident, quickly determined the severity of Ms. Lackey's condition, and seemingly provided proficient care until the Paramedics arrived to take over.  I personally think that "competent" is an understatement, considering that nowhere in the job description for "Deputy Sheriff - Corrections" on the county website does it include providing emergency medical care.

Lastly, according to the Champaign County website, it's outside contractors that provide medical, mental health and food-service at the jail, which means they aren't the Sheriff's employees.

yeahokay wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

One last thing.

According to, withdrawl from cocaine and marijuana are likely to only cause emotional withdrawl symptoms. It further states that withdrawal from heroin is uncomfortable but it alone does not produce seizures, heart attacks, strokes, or delirium tremens.

According to the National Institute of Health, alcohol addiction does potentially have high risk complications from withdrawl, however seizures are only common with the most serious kind of withdrawl- delirium tremens which comes from years upon years of copious alcohol consumption. It says she had a problem in the past with alcohol, but does not specify how recently or how big of a problem it was for her.

Also, IF hypertension was indeed something that led to the aneurysm rupturing it is very difficult to ascertain what may have elevated her blood pressure. Many people have hypertension for numerous reasons- many of which aren't fully understood.

It doesn't seem fair for you to speculate that she recieved inadequate medical treatment in the jail at the same time that you're criticizing the speculation that the rupture of her aneurysm was unpreventable.

Yatiri wrote on February 01, 2012 at 3:02 am

Addicts take all kinds of drugs.  For example xanax is commonly abused along with the coke and heroin.  Benzodiazepine withdrawal is fatal.  Yes she had an aneurysm nobody knew about.  But her severe addiction was known and she required close observation for impending withdrawal. The likelihood of aneurysm rupture goes way up with uncontrolled blood pressure.  

At a minimum her blood pressure and pulse ought to have been monitored hourly for the first several days. 





Yatiri wrote on February 01, 2012 at 3:02 am

When a citizen is in the government's hands their medical care becomes the government's responsibility.  Yes they contract the medical care out and the service they provide is substandard.  They don't use local physicians to save money and what is provided is third rate care provided by incompetent doctors who can't work anywhere else.

vetchic wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I am on your side in all of this. I just want to point out that an anuerysm is something you are born with or develop unknowingly in your life, drug use or not. These are silent killers that you don't know you have until it is too late. I don't think there was anything anyone could have done to prevent this. The News Gazette however should retract this story and apologize! I am fed up with this paper!

lervin1 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

She was more than just her struggle.  She was more than a Champaign County "inmate." She was more than just a struggling drug addict. This article seems to focus more on her short cummings rather than her life. Not a good thing to write.:<

mStacie wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Mary Schneck, the most important things to her somehow ended up last. When you took the failed attempt to destroy Melissa's life, the most important things (her children) were listed at the complete end of this horrible article! I'm sure you notice, through your criminal research (being that appears to be the topic of your story) that she had made attempts to change her life. However, she has left behind 3 children & family that should not have to had witnessed theri loved one slandered through our local newspaper! The only light I see through the shadow you have thrown over Missy is that we all know that you are only a editor for the News Gazette and NOT the Author of her life! 

Cstraight wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Go ON Stacie!!!! HE is the Author and Finisher! You made me sooo proud with the comment!

slsears wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Really??  You have no other news to report than to bash on a woman who just lost her life in a tragic accident??  Pathetic N-G, just pathetic.  Do you know that her children are already having to deal with everything thats going on and losing their mom?  You just HAD to go and report her past.  No need.  At best, you could have just said an inmate passed away tragically and thats that.  I noticed there were no interviews with family members or friends of Missy's.  Why?  All you focus on is the bad.  I feel so bad for those children now that their mother's name has been slandered all over the paper.  Sick, Sick, Sick.  R.I.P. Missy.  You will be missed dearly.

amberkay7876 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

It's a shame that the editors couldn't headline this story better than they did.  After reading the article, I am still wondering HOW it was determined that it was drug use that killed her? According to the writers there has not been an autopsy yet, so why jump the gun on the diagnosis?  Even if this beautiful woman's death was caused by her own doing, was it really necessary to write that?  This was a tragic event no matter what the cause.  The News-Gazette should recognize that her family and children will read this and if it is not accurate then they have to deal with making things right!  Shame on the editors for not thinking about the WHOLE picture and just writing about what they THINK they know!  

wcostley wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Shame on the author of this post, and all those involved in allowing this to be published. To think you are doing justice by airing out someones life to protect your image. Such disprespect to Missy's family, children, and friends. I am very disgusted with this post, and from the looks of it many others are as well. You would of shown more decency by not treading into her personal life. You didn't even pursue any comments from those that she helped at the Prairie Center or during her time in treatment, her family who knew her like no one else, and her friends who loved her and cared about her no matter her struggles. She was a kind, warm, happy person, and would do for anyone who asked of her. I can't even fathom how you would stoop so low to post this. SHAME ON YOU, AND THE NEWS GAZETTE!

R.I.P Missy....we all love and miss you very much!


CU Native wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

So what she made a few wrong decisions in her life. This is not how she should be remembered by her loved ones and not how those that did not know here should view her. I have met Missy in passing, but I know this is not her and this is  not what her life was all about. Her family and friends should be celebrating her life at this time, not having to subject themselves to reading such garbage.  New-Gazette has let me down. My heart goes out to her kids, her family and her friends. Despite what NG has to say, Missy was a beautiful person inside and out. She will be missed by many. RIP GOD'S ANGEL aka MISSY!

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

How dare you write such a sickening and degrading article? If the proper research would have been given, you would have been able to find out so much more about this lovely woman than just her criminal record and her skeletons hidden in the closet. Every person has their struggles, and some may be worse than others. But I do not believe a person's struggles define who they are as a human being. She was a hard working woman, a loving mother, an amazing friend, and I think it is a sad injustice that her mourning family now have this cross to bear in addition to the loss of a very dearly loved family member. You should be thoroughly embarassed for the lack of respect and couth you have given this article.

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Furthermore, I was lucky to have been able to consider this person a friend. She had more heart and charisma than most people are fortunate to be blessed with. She was a very strong person who fought hard to right the wrongs in her life. She was funny, sweet, always smiling, and full of nothing but love for her children and the people around her. She was and always will be an inspiration to me. You can say whatever you want in print, but nothing said here by any means even begins to describe the amazing person she was. The world will be a little less bright without her here and I miss her dearly already. Nothing but love for you, Missy. Always.

sunshine1996 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I am not a resident of Champaign-Urbana but I was made aware of this senseless artical while on Facebook this afternoon. Reading this artical is very disturbing and heartless. This opinion is coming from someone that does not know this young mother. I can only imagine the hurt that the family is feeling during this difficult time. I have never read anything in a newspaper that is as tastless as what I just finished reading. It is very unfortunate that this artical was approved to be published and I can only hope that this artical some how slipped through the cracks and was published without the approval of the News-Gazette. Many people make mistakes in life and we all must learn from such mistakes. As it sounds like Mrs. Lackey understood her faults and was prepared to serve her sentence in prison for those mistakes. Printing this artical was a mistake and I hope after reading such negitive reveiws from residents of Champaign-Urbana and residents of other states that in the near future the News-Gazzate will take into consideration the hurt and pain that an artical like this may cause. A child molester or a murder doesn't get an area in the newspaper listing their faults but a person that passes away in jail for shoplifting can get an artical in the newspaper? This is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Beem wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

The friends and supporters of Mrs. Lackey should get together and write a paid advertisement explaining what type of person she really was if you feel this strongly about it.

The N-G is just providing the news, and if someone dies in our county jail, it, and the circumstances surrounding it and the person are news. If you do not want your legacy to be bad, then do not live a life of crime and drugs as she and her husband have apparently done.

slsears wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Your just as sick as them.  It has nothing to do with life of crime or drugs.  People make mistakes and their lives.  She overcame them more than once.  More then what could probably be said for you.  All we are asking is for consideration for her family and children.  I don't think its that much to ask.  I'm sure if the person was someone close to you you would be just as upset as everyone else is.  No need to comment back to me, your not worth my time.

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

It should speak volumes about the amount of responses and positive comments that are being made about her on this forum. Who are you to judge? It sounds like you know absolutely nothing about her other than what you have read in a factually inaccurate article written by someone who did not take enough care to do their necessary homework. A person should not be memorialized for their mistakes. PERIOD.

mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

You are must not have a heart either!  Wow.

vetchic wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Her death had nothing to do with her incarceration. This is in no way, shape or form news. I worked at the hospital and had plenty of patients pass who were incarcerated at the time of their death. Not all of them make the paper.. Why this one?

bclegg9175 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

@vetchic - NG wrote this story to protect themselves from any implication in her death. I do not believe it is their fault she died, but this article is tacky.

mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

How dare you print an article like this!  Missy hasn't even been gone 24 hours....her children, family and friends have not even had time to grasp what has happened and the NG does this!!!  I have known Missy for many many years......she struggled during some of that time, but she also shined.  No one was interested in showing all the goodness about her.  She was a sweet, loving, caring individual, who I loved very much.  As well as so many others did.  I am outraged at the insensitivity of the writer and editor.  As a side note:   You couldn't even get it right that she had one older daughter and son from a previous relationship....not two daughters!  The NG should be ashamed!

Beem wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I get it, you all liked her. I never met her, you're right. But if she (and her husband) were burglarizing people, and being charged with battery (her most recent charge) then they also had victims. You want some compassion for her. Where was her compassion for her victims?

Once again, if you don't want to have a negative legacy, then don't have it littered with negative events.

slsears wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Answer me one question BEEM, is there anyone in your friends or family that have fallen down a time or two with crime, drugs or alcohol?  If you answered no then  you are lying.  We all know someone or somebody's who have went down that road a time or two.  Would you not be upset if something tragic happened to your family or friend and this kind of story was posted?  I understand they had victims as well but during this time of her untimely death, it did not need to be brought up.  If you can't relate to any of this then by all means, teach us all of your perfectness so that we won't ever make any mistakes ever. 

bren22 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

But you will be judge too, by the Lord, weather you believe in him or not! How evil people are in these last days! I wonder what your little perfect self got hiding in your closet! May God Bless you and have mercy!

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Addiction is a disease. And if you are not familiar with the symptoms of addiction and the crazy things it makes you do, then there is apparently much for you to learn. She fought hard to try to overcome her troubles and she even used her own experiences to better others lives by helping counsel people going through similar situations. She was aware of her mistakes and she tried her best to right the wrongs she made in her life. And the point of this article was to try to make sure the public knew that the jail took all precautions to keep her death from occurring. Instead, the article focused the blame on her past addictions, which quite possibly might not have been the cause of her death at all. The article was carelessly written and inaccurate.

james33 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

What is wrong with you people? Would you rather this article simply state that this woman was waiting on being shipped to prison for 5 years because of her lengthy criminal history while being held in county lock up when she had an aneurysm burst????????? You all should be gratefull for the kindness NG gave to this article and let us all know she wasn't just a drug addict but a real person with a big heart that cared for and even helped others while fighting her own battles with the same disease.

james33 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

What is wrong with you people? Would you rather this article simply state that this woman was waiting on being shipped to prison for 5 years because of her lengthy criminal history while being held in county lock up when she had an aneurysm burst????????? You all should be gratefull for the kindness NG gave to this article and let us all know she wasn't just a drug addict but a real person with a big heart that cared for and even helped others while fighting her own battles with the same disease.

Yocal wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I have never met this woman but I am disappointed in this article and the N-G.  I feel for her family, especially her children and I am sorry that their mom's faults are now being exploited in the local media. Obviously she had problems and tried to deal with them. Take more consideration in your articles in the future. I'm sure this is damage control and posturing by the city (and N-G) to paint her in a bad light to try and avoid a suit. Disappointing.

Kelly Hucal Karthik wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

If I die in Champaign, is this what my family has to look forward to? We all have dirt.  This was just down right tacky.

sallbright wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

How dare you, NG!!! This wonderful, beautiful woman was a daughter, a mother, a sister and a friend! How dare you minimulize her life like this? Did you know her? I'm sure not!! How dare you print this for her grieving family and friends to read! You need to retract this article and print an apology to her family! Shame, shame on you!!!

bclegg9175 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Missy was an imperfect soul, but who amongst us can claim perfection?

This could've been reported on as a news story, but it wasn't. It was written in the style of a back-handed obituary and it was inaccurate to boot.

I can't say that I was close to Missy but I did have the pleasure of working with her for a few years. During that time, and all the times I have seen her since, she was a warm person with a smile for everyone. She fiercely loved her children. She messed up, but unlike many I could name, she also tried to atone for her indiscretions. It takes a big person to own up to the mistakes they've made.

NG, you jumped the gun on your reporting to provide a salacious story to garner hits on your website. You succeeded. You succeeding in angering a lot of people. Shame on you.

May her children and family find solace in this difficult time.

mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thank you for this!  Perfectly said!

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Very well said!!

Pastor Jack Meyer wrote on January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I am a person who believes in the power of forgiveness. I think the staff writer who wrote the artical needs to stand before the family and seek forgiveness for the terrible timing of such an artical. In fact there was no need to print at all. Shame on The News-Gazette.

AGoodFriend75 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I concur!!!!!

the-uniform wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

It seems that many of Mary Schenk's articles are written without care for the families of the deceased. It is a shame that the N-G won't rein her in on what is news-worthy, but i guess all they care about is the money since her articles get this much attention. 

AGoodFriend75 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

This article is pretty darn insensitive!!! And there should be an apology made to her children, mother, brother, husband, and the rest of her family and friends!!! Because at the end of the day, regardless, of why she was currently in jail or of her previous issues she was a human being who died suddenly and tragically. It should not have been "assumed" that her death was "probably" due to her past!!! Sounds like to me that since this article was wriiten so fast and with no compassion, that maybe there is something that is trying to be hidden before anyone has a chance to raise any concerns. Regardless, all the public needed to know from this article was that a woman died while in custody and that officers "did their job"...PERIOD!!!! All the extra was not necessary, her family and those close to her knew everything else, no need to throw it back in their faces, they are already dealing with enough from her no longer being here. It's fine if you are going to report news, but let that be, not all the insensitive information about a person after they have passed. Seriously, anybody who reads this, think about if it were your mom, daughter, sister, wife, family member, or would you feel?!?!? To Missy's family & other friends, know that there are a lot of us out here enraged by this article and we willhold Missy up to the highest standards that she very well deserves!!! Come on News-Gazette, reconsider this one!!! It is morally the right thing to do!!!

LeslieM wrote on January 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I agree with all the upset people. I don't understand the use of her past problems with her drugs if it hasn't been proven that drugs where in fact what lead to her death. Also I think news gazette should have at least contacted some of her family members or friends to get insight into what kind of person she actually was. She had problems with drugs and commited crimes but to completely down grade her as much as you have is senseless. you could have left out a lot of her past, if all you were trying to do is make the jail not responsible for her death. I figured if the court and police were aware of drug problems they would at least have someone come in and check out the inmmates that are going through withdraw. I knew Missy and she was such a nice person, she had a lovely smile and was witty. You should either withdraw this or write another piece on her after you have had time to get to know her through her family and friends.

Perfectly Imperfect wrote on January 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Disgusting & tasteless.

boo2ng wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

First of all I registered to the news gazette just so that I could post this comment. I read the news gazette just about every day online and have never felt the need to post a comment until now I do not even know this young lady personally....and I think that this article is absolutely absurd. Everyone has pretty much summed it up on here, but this is totally uncalled for!!!!! Whoever wrote this article needs to write an article apologizing to this young ladys famiy.  Her past and her husband have nothing to do with her death. Lets give her credit for making through the drug program and making a difference. EVERYONE makes mistakes myself included. I think that putting her whole past on blast is innapropriate and unprofessional.  I would really like to start a petition or something for the person accountable to either post an apology article or be FIRED.  Why her?? Out of all the inmates that have died in the county jail, why her?? Why do you choose to put her life out in the open. Im sure that even the person that wrote this article probably has some skeletons in their closet, so just because you need a story, you choose to pick the bad points and write a column about it??? REALLY??? Find something else to write about. Her family has been through enough. And NG you have lost my vote. I dont get the paper delivered to my house, and never will. I am asking anyone and everyone that recieves the paper to discontinue it....To her family I am so sorry for your loss, so set aside all the negative comments in this article and remember all the joy she brought you. God BLess


mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Thank you!  I, too, registered only to respond to this article and the disgust I feel about it.  I agree with you 100%!  You expressed what, I think, so many of us feel, perfectly.  Thank you!  I believe a petition is appropriate.

To Missy's kids, mom, brother and husband.......I hope you all know that everyone who knew your mom, sister, daughter and wife knew that she was one of a kind...a beautiful soul..... and didn't choose to struggle the way she did.  God bless her!


Chambana Dude wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

The reason this article was written and subsequently published is simple: a death occurred in our County Jail and as citizens, we have the right to be made aware of that. The other details in reference to Ms. Lackey's life is simply part of the story. 

I disagree with the critics of the News Gazette in regards to this article. If it wasn't written, the critics would be crying "cover up" because a death in the jail wasn't reported. Now that it has been reported, critics are crying that it's "bad timing" and demonizing Ms. Lackey. The News Gazette is simply reporting the facts. 

Always Yours, Chambana Dude

mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Disagree!!!!  Respect her children and family......her history of struggling was unnecessary!

danvillenative wrote on January 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I will first say it is sad that these children lost their mother. However, the NG is just reporting the truth. Everyone makes mistakes in life, but everyone knows that one mistake can be with you forever. She chose the life of crime and drugs and that is also sad these children grew up with that that kind of mother. It is what it is.

mommabird1960 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Do you realize that her family and children may be reading your comment and that it may be hurting them even  that much more?  Senseless.....and sad.

blueeyed2200 wrote on January 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

And for the record, her children HAVE read this article and ALL of the comments, INCLUDING YOURS. Regardless of what your opinion may be of her based on the little you have read about her, you should have a little respect and keep those opinions to yourself.

boo2ng wrote on January 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Im sorry MR Danvillenative...Do you even know this young lady?? The facts are that she passed from an aneurysm.  No one CHOOSES a life of crime and drugs. Her past SHOULD NOT have been posted in the NG.  Please tell me what her husband that is incarcerated has to do with this article. You are wrong. No ones buisness should be put on blast like that. And Im sure that if one of YOUR family members was in this situation you would not want the negative comments to be posted. RETHINK your comment before you post it. The vote is 1000 to 1 on this...sorry YOU LOSE!!!

Unafraid wrote on January 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Losing a loved one is difficult.  Regardless of how many times you go through the process, it doesn’t become any easier.  With each experience, it reminds the living that life is precious, and you often long for one more moment to share your love.  Many of you have expressed an opinion about the information shared in this article, and while I have an opinion about it, I won’t use this forum to delve into it further.  Instead, I would like to offer sincere condolences to the friends and family of Missy.

I can remember sitting in front of Missy in Spanish class and hearing her infectious laugh as we all sounded horrible attempting to speak the language.  She had a smile that pulled you in and a sweetness about her that was genuine.   I was only a classmate and not a dear friend, and what I remember most about her is that she was fun and kind.  Did she have some events in her life that didn’t turn out favorably? Sure.  If it had not been for the grace of God where would I be?  We have all fallen short at some point, and the fall for some of us has been greater than others. 

Nevertheless, I would like to divert your attention away from the fall and toward the person who was a daughter, wife, mother and friend.  Life has no guarantees and no one can confidently say that tomorrow is promised.  For those of you who knew Missy, you get to choose how you remember her.  So, pull out your keepsakes, share your stories and above all celebrate her in your own way.  I’ll be praying for the family, and most of all for her children.  Be well and God bless!

vetchic wrote on February 01, 2012 at 6:02 am

She didnt die in jail!!! She died at Carle hours after she was found by jail COs (who I believe did all they could). I had plenty of patients from the jail come in and pass when I worked there. no one covered the story of the old guy who had a heart attack. NG just has nothing better to report on, or should I say Mrs. Schenk doesnt! Read her articles, every single on of them has multiple mistakes such as wrong facts! Hey Mary Schenk, write an article that explains those handful of lawsuits against you. They might be nothing but we as the public wont know until you tell us!

prd2bme wrote on February 01, 2012 at 8:02 am

To those who are currently reading this article, please realize that this story has been re-written at least twice since it's original release Tuesday afternoon.

The majority of the comments focus on the original posting of this story that had several factual errors, a slant toward the negative and a few poorly worded sentences that seemed more like opinion than fact.

The current posting is a more balanced report of what happened and who Missy was.  She was not without flaws, but had a warm heart and a warm soul, and will be looking down on all of those she touched as we come together in moments of reflection.  

Much love.


Beem wrote on February 01, 2012 at 9:02 am

"No one CHOOSES a life of crime and drugs." This will have to go down in the comment section Hall of Fame.

tiffy93 wrote on February 01, 2012 at 9:02 am

It seems to me the NG took a lot of time researching Missy's past, but neglected to take the time to interview her mother, brother, husband, children or friends. If they had followed due diligence, they may have stopped themselves from printing this horrible article.

Who did what at the jail to me is irrelevant. These things happen to unsuspecting women all the time. Perhaps the NG would consider publishing an article about the silent killer at hand here. Missy is not the first or second woman in my life I have lost to a brain aneurysm and I hope that in the future our fabulous doctors come up with a way to detect and treat this horrible killer.

We may be biased as her friends, but if you knew Missy you knew there was nothing she wouldn't do to help someone. Whether it was a friend or not. If you knew Missy, you knew that she had the most beautiful smile God allowed someone to carry. If you knew Missy, you knew she was the best ally to have in this world. If you knew Missy....

I hope in the future the NG finds writers and editors who believe in publishing the real story at hand. The real story of a beautiful woman who was loved and admired by many and was taken from us far too soon, not because of her checkered past (and we all have one) but because of this deadly and undetectable thing called a brain aneurysm. The real story of how doctors don't look for it, how there are no real tests for it, and no way to treat it, yet it kills and kills and kills.

kelly1994 wrote on February 01, 2012 at 9:02 am

While the outrage towards this article, the New-Gazette, and especially the 'author', is well founded and justified....ya'll did realize you were reading the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, right? In fourth grade my grammar school had a newsletter written by students that was more factual, fair, and succint than this rag. The woman in the story was a human being with children, who passed away while in the custody of the county jail. If I babysit your kid, and he drowns, that's gonna be my bad, not just 'luck of the draw'. Why start the article with, ''URBANA — A 36-year-old Urbana woman who died after having a seizure at the Champaign County Jail on Monday was plagued by illegal drug use much of her adult life.''? Seriously? That sounds like someone from the jail called the News Gazette after they realized they had left this PERSON unattended in a cell for hours while her cellmate tried to summon them, and said, 'Make sure you mention she was an addict her whole life.' The whole thing, both the county jail and this 'newspaper', makes me sick.

I hope the deceased family and friends first find some sort of peace in the good person she was and the many good things she did in her life, and then a good attorney.


mankind wrote on February 01, 2012 at 10:02 am

Seems like the sad irony of a likeable drug court graduate and treatment counselor dying in jail should have tipped off someone at the N-G that maybe there's a more meaningful story here than what was published. Whenever one of these drug rehab cases end like this, there are always so many people quick to say, "Well, drug rehab never works. Better to send them to jail." Hopefully someone will tell the truth about what went wrong in this poor woman's life so it's not turned into a statistic.

Uh huh wrote on February 01, 2012 at 10:02 am

From this point on, it doesn't matter what the News-Gazette tries to do with this "story".  The damage is done, people are offended, feelings have been hurt.  It is obvious that this woman was surrounded by a very loving family and circle of friends and has touched many lives in a positive way.  I agree with many posters saying the author of this "story" should have interviewed friends and family prior to publishing the article.  And it should have been posted no sooner than 48 hours after her passing.  The family needed a little more than 10 hours to process what had just happened.  Having said that...she did make the unfortunate decision of harming herself with drugs and alochol.  I know many people who have made that same choice and it makes you do messed up stuff that one normally would not do sober.  She proved to herself that she could beat it and it's a shame she wasn't able to stay strong enough to beat it for good.  I hope others can learn from her mistakes and look at her life for inspiration when they are at their lowest.  I also hope her family and friends can move on from this mess of a story and cherish the memories they have of their loved one.

danvillenative wrote on February 01, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Beem, Like I said before it is sad a mother had to die so young especially with children. However, everyday I CHOOSE NOT to use drugs and partake in criminal activity. Nobody is forced to use crack, steal other peoples things, and physically harm other people. PEOPLE VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE to partake in those activities. They may be hard to stop once they are started, but God gave us all the will power to overcome anything if wanted bad enough. The NG is just reporting the facts which are at times tough to face.

bclegg9175 wrote on February 01, 2012 at 1:02 pm

That is great for you.

She died of an aneurysm. Since this is her cause of death (before an autopsy mind you) why did the NG choose to highlight her drug usage?

Did she need to be in jail? Absolutely. When you screw up in life, you should be prepared to pay for the consequences. This story could've just as easily gone the route of "Inmate dies of aneurysm" to let the public know that someone had died in jail and that it was through no fault of the employees.

It seems, in order to paint the county in a better light, the story focused on dragging her name through the mud to show how much she deserved to be there.

I hope that when you die, because we all are, that your obituary doesn't highlight all of your shortcomings especially in such a public forum and so soon after your demise.

vetchic wrote on February 01, 2012 at 1:02 pm

You are so right in the choices we make are our own but  I would like to add that originally the "facts" were incorrect they have now been corrected. That was one upset, the second upset was that the details of her husband and past were not necessary for the article. I knew this girl, I was NOT a friend, but I still found the original article tacky. NG had a choice as well, they chose a bad time to circulate this article and chose to not get facts correct before putting this article out there.

danvillenative wrote on February 01, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Sorry Beem, that was for Boo2ng

boo2ng wrote on February 01, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Ok so using the word CHOOSE was maybe a bad choice of words..I will give you that. Yes Taking drugs and commiting crimes is a choice, but its not like someone wakes up one day and says Hey I think I am going to be a druggie and have a life of crime. For whatever reason that we dont know, she was taken down that path. She did complete a drug program which shows courage, and strength. No one knows what took place in her mind except her. Do I agree with her life style? NO. Do I think she should have served time for her crimes? YES. I support our police officers and medical system 97% (there are a few bad apples).  In my line of work I deal alot with our chambana PD. This article is HEARTLESS. PERIOD! Ok she had an apparent seizure in the county, transported to Carle where she then passed later. And after an autopsy it was reported that she had an aneurysm.  None of us know what caused the anerysm. She could have had it for some time before it finally ruptured. The whole point here is.... ok write the article about her death and what happend. Why mention that her husband is in jail. Why did we need to know that? She had a life of crime, why did we need to know that. Obviously if she was an inmate we should all know she did something to break the law. Why give a description of her crime history??  She was a person, with feelings and her famiy deserves respect in their time of grief. Write about her successful graduation from the drug classes, maybe find the good points in her life with her children, her husband, and her family. I am not disagreeing with the  article being written, but how it was written, and what it included. I have heard the author of this story is a very nice person, which she very well may be. But this articles contents are way out of line. Disrespectful to her and her famiy.  No one knows why she was in trouble for battery. No one knows the circumstances. Her burglery charge... ok bad decision.  No one was hurt here but her family, HER CHILDREN, everyone loves their parents even if they do make bad decisions in life.  At a time when her family needed the most support in dealing with the death of THEIR loved one, what does Mary Schenk do??? She pours salt in their wounds by posting this article. Not everyone will agree with the comments made on this page, and a few of you may not even give a s**t. But sometimes you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes and ask yourself. How would you feel if this was your loved one?  If your child chooses to do drugs, what would most parents to?? HELP them, not stop loving them.  Besides all this negative information I have heard that she was a very kind person. Drugs and Alcohol addiction are terrible dieseases. And unless you have encountered such, you might not know just how hard it is to stop.  All everyone is upset about is the lack of respect that her family was given by posting this. SHE commited the crimes not her family. They should have had more respect and condolences. She is paying the ultimate price for her crimes and her past. TIME SERVED. And with that being said her past should have been left alone.

Uh huh wrote on February 01, 2012 at 4:02 pm

VERY well said!!!

ymaze wrote on February 01, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Words can't express how dearly you will be missed. Even though we went months with not seeing or talking but once we met it was like we never lost contact. I will miss your laugh, smile and overall friendship.

ClearVision wrote on February 02, 2012 at 7:02 am

In response to Chambana Dude, you're exactly right. It's news. The News-Gazette is a news organization. Those who are wailing about it need to step back and view this reasonably instead of letting emotion and prejudice fill their hearts. Then live your own lives in such a way that if a news story is written about you people who know you can be proud of it.

Frankly, the story I read was about somebody who did some good in spite of some terrible problems in her life. The negative outbursts about it say much more about the posters than it does the News-Gazette staff and management.

Hard Reality wrote on February 02, 2012 at 11:02 am

Respect for the living is one thing.  Respect for the dead is another.  Mary Schenk and the News-Gazette have a history of showing little of either if it interferes with "getting a good story."  That is a legacy they must live, and die, with as well.

I've seen the bounds of privacy, if not decency, violated in what this paper deems "newsworthy," even when the subject of an article has no criminal connection and there is no justifiable reason to expose certain information, other than invasive "human interest" -- especially in tragic circumstances when family and friends are already grieving and distraught.

Our society is saturated with morbid and inappropriate curiosity, with privacy being diminished on all fronts.  Now more than ever, we need more sense and greater sensitivity, less sensationalism and snooping.  Reporters with greater integrity and understanding never lose sight of that, even in a rush to get the "scoop."

arcobbb1970 wrote on February 02, 2012 at 2:02 pm

First of all I am a friend of Missy's. So many of the insensitive "holier than thou" comments have truly bothered me. However, even if I wasn't a friend, I am a human being, I have experienced many hardships in my life. I have made bad choices. Choices that did at times turn out badly for me. Choices that hurt others or caused others headache and pain. I am sure that at some point in my life, there is a pretty good chance that will happen again on some level. Amazingly enough, I am not alone. Every member of my family and all of my friends, as well as people I work with or just bypass along the way, have also made bad choices and at some point caused others heart ache and pain. We are not a perfect people. So imagine my surprise when I read so many comments by so many people who have never had any of these issues. So many people that had no understanding of a life full of struggle or what is is to make bad choices. Not even one. I would love to meet each of you on a more personal level so that you all could share with me what your secret is. But since you have no concept of imperfection let me share some things with you. Drug addiction and alcoholism is in fact a disease. I have personally witnessed the damage it does as much as I have witnessed those addicted wanting nothing more than a "normal" painfree life. If you do not know about the disease or have never experienced then you really have no grounds to comment on it. You should just consider yourself fortunate that noone you love or you yourself has ever had to struggle with it. But then again you are perfect so this would never be an issue for you, or apparently your perfect circle. Secondly, the disease of addiction doesnt make someone a bad person anymore than any other disease. It does cause them to make bad choices but in no way changes WHO they are as a person. Missy was an addict. She struggled. Sometimes she won. Sometimes she lost. She never gave up. Those of you who are perfect won't understand and that is okay. I am sorry you all dont understand why it was unfair and why people are upset that she was shown in such a bad light. She was a BEAUTIFUL person who had a disease and made bad choices. But she was a loving, caring, kind beautiful spirit who loved everyone. And I can guarantee you 100% that if the tables were turned and she was reading something silmilar about you or a member of your family that she WOULD NEVER JUDGE. She would feel the pain for you or your family and she would be sad that someone (even a stranger) has to feel so much pain. So yes, you and your family and your friends have lived a perfect life. I guess that is ok. It saves you from having to feel compassion and empathy for myself, my friends and my family. But we (me, my friends, my family), we get to experience what it is to actually love and care about other people and their struggles and sometimes we even get to be a part of bringing comfort, instead of pain and judgement, to others that are hurting. Its really not so bad. I feel sorry for you.

mommabird1960 wrote on February 02, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Thank you!  Thank you!  Perfectly said!