Her nose was badly broken, Tucker told her after a brief exam. She would need surgery. Without waiting for swelling to go down, which was standard procedure, he gave her drugs and prepped her for the operation.

When Lehman awoke the next day, she was shocked at how terrible she felt. Her eyes were rimmed with black and purple, and her sinus cavity burst with lightning flashes of pain. "I didn't know he'd done anything wrong, but I could tell pretty quickly that I wasn't healing properly," Lehman says. "You try to fight through it. I had classes to teach."

For two months, Lehman visited Tucker weekly, and he prescribed ever more drugs. Finally, in May, the doctor convinced her she needed a second surgery. Lehman was dubious — How could a broken nose turn so serious? — but she agreed.

Tucker was presumed drowned in 1982 after his canoe washed ashore on Lake Michigan.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
Tucker was presumed drowned in 1982 after his canoe washed ashore on Lake Michigan.
A Milwaukee TV crew confronted Tucker after finding him in the Florida Keys.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
A Milwaukee TV crew confronted Tucker after finding him in the Florida Keys.

From the start, the second procedure seemed odd. Lehman awoke from the anesthesia to watch Tucker wheel her from a crowded prep room down a hallway. The first operating room was occupied by a janitor mopping the floor. The second was eerily empty.

"I became terrified. I did dental surgeries, and I knew how it was supposed to work," she says. "The room is supposed to be ready, prepped with equipment and nurses, long before they bring the patient in."

Lehman passed out again and then awoke with electrical tubing up her nose. Tucker soon entered the room and ripped it out by hand, tearing all the stitches. When she made it home from her second surgery, still dazed and heavily medicated, she knew instinctively her nose was worse than ever, she says.

"I knew that something was not right. I didn't know why, but I was so damn terrified," she says. "I couldn't think clearly."

For a month she stayed home, pouring salt water into her sinuses, struggling to breathe and think through the pain. Finally, she returned to Tucker.

It would be the last time. Lehman's drug-induced denial crumbled with one devastating moment of clarity.

Waiting for Tucker to enter the exam room, she blew her nose and looked at the Kleenex. It was covered in gruesome, neon-yellow puss. Tucker walked through the door, and Lehman, tears streaming down her face, showed him the tissue: "Look at this!" she remembers saying. "This is not right!"

Tucker looked calmly at her and smiled: "The tissue is perfectly clear, Jan. You just don't want to get better."

Suddenly, Lehman's brain clicked. That statement — telling her that neon yellow was clear — finally broke down all her barriers: her instinctive trust of doctors, her unquestioning belief in authority. "I finally caught him in a blatant lie," she says. "I didn't know what was going on with my body or what had been done to me. But I knew a color. I knew it was yellow... That's when the terror hit me."

She ran. First to a bathroom, where she sobbed. Then home. Finally to a trusted doctor at the dental school, who took her to a colleague.

When that doctor first shined a light into her sinuses, he recoiled. Then he gently tugged out the gauze that Tucker had left packed inside her nose for months. It was yellow and festering with infection.

"That's when I knew this was intentional," Lehman says. "I completely lost it."

Armed with antibiotics, she spent weeks fighting infections and abscesses in her sinuses — but the damage, she'd later learn, went beyond the gauze. Her cartilage was so mangled that one side of her nose would later collapse; years later, she'd wake up to find cartilage protruding from her skin.

As Lehman tried to figure out what to do, her terror grew. Then, one day, driving home from Marquette, she swore she spotted him: Tucker was in his car, carefully following her.

She knew then she had to leave town. Within three weeks, she'd fled to Austin, Texas, where friends had recommended she hide out. Once there, she continued pursuing a complaint she'd filed against Tucker.

She didn't expect much to come of it. Wisconsin's medical laws in 1978 were almost comically tilted toward doctors. To file a lawsuit, malpractice victims first had to appear before a "Patient Compensation Panel," where doctors grilled would-be plaintiffs like criminals over intimate medical details. Without the panel's go-ahead, no suit was allowed.

"I knew I didn't have much hope," Lehman says. "But money wouldn't have helped anyway. I wanted to get Tucker's actions on the record."

Lehman didn't know it yet, but she was far from alone in coping with damage from the doctor.

Months after Lehman fled to Texas, a woman who had lost 100 pounds by dieting went to Tucker for help. She hoped to reduce the excess skin left on her body. Tucker operated on her arms, abdomen, and breasts — but botched the job so badly she needed 13 more surgeries, according to media reports.

Another man, named as "Ralph" in a 1984 Milwaukee Magazine story, sought Tucker's help for spasms in his left arm. The surgery was so catastrophic that Ralph lost use of the arm, which was eventually amputated above the elbow.

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31 comments
clytamnestra
clytamnestra

seems like the 'running form debtors' rumor is probably true if he had a successful and well-paying career, lived in an expensive house. but also was still paying of his student-loans and only had a few thousand in savings.

clearly this guy was bad with money. (but he wouldn't have admitted to that, or to anything else that didn't fit in the 'he was a brilliant man' narrative that his daughter is still parroting)

coffeetea
coffeetea

To not feel any remorse for the atrocities he's committed (or to even acknowledge that it was wrong) shows signs of sociopathy. The fact that his daughter is still defending him, despite being shown evidence of his violent offenses, makes me think that she's either delusional or takes after her father... If she's anything like him, then I would not want her anywhere near a medical center.

imagineforever
imagineforever

I can't believe Virginia still defends him. She's in complete denial and should probably get checked out herself by a psychiatrist for living in a delusional fantasy. I'd be afraid of her being my nurse after hearing her disagree against hard evidence. Sigh.. like father like daughter.

deeeh
deeeh

it amazes me that somone this incompetent could make an excellent living and fly below the radar of the medical establishment for so long, while his disfigured patients stacked up at the medical review board. interesting, the final question we're left with: was he sadistic or just a crappy doc?  his treatment of some patients went far beyond malpractice and sub-standard care, to sadistic treatment bordering on torture.

Au79Ag47
Au79Ag47

This is a fascinating story reminiscent of "Dr. Hannibal Lector", or of "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde". There is, of course, one salient difference: this story is NOT fiction. The murderous psychopath, Dr. Glen Tucker,  who eluded the typically ineffective law enforcement agencies for decades was ultimately discovered by a TV producer and a TV investigative reporter to be living comfortably in the pristine and beautiful Florida Keys just 27 miles from Key West, (FL). Murderous butchering psychopath, faked drowning victim,  "respected" physician with both money and connections living care-free for three decades in the picturesque Florida Keys evokes thoughts of a Hollywood movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Al Pacino. To the writer of this story, Tim Elfrink, I sincerely commend your riveting writing style encompassing both clarity and coherence. I look forward to reading more of your excellent work.

carolinehjenkins
carolinehjenkins

Very well written story about a fascinating, evil individual. I guess it's not that unusual for a grown daughter to have different memories than those whose lives he ruined without remorse but it makes for an interesting comparison. I am so glad that I discovered the Miami New Times being the true crime junkie that I am.

Yaymike20
Yaymike20

@_MrsLibby_G taxi story woah

Xo_Jc
Xo_Jc

@_MrsLibby_G crazy story.

The_Yeti_Knows
The_Yeti_Knows

Must have been some onion...... I'm more of a Rutabaga man myself.

merl.allen
merl.allen topcommenter

he killed his cat?? what kind of monster does that?

Chris Ball
Chris Ball

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fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Well-written article. Also, scary as he11 because of how prominent and respected the doc was in the community while occasionally disfiguring or maiming patients. His lack of a conscience and empathy are key traits of a sociopath; the infliction of pain is, indeed, psychopathic.

The doctor's daughter mentioned his bouts of depression makes me wonder if those depressing periods corresponded in any way with the botched surgeries. Specifically, was he otherwise a competent surgeon with satisfied patients, then during a depression period the psychopathic side took over?

clytamnestra
clytamnestra

 @coffeetea

yeah, scary to think she's a nurse.

i'd say she is a combination of in denial and being trained by her dominant and manipulative father all her life to  give him what he wants (being 'unquestionable loyalty and adoration') . seems that she has the same personality-flaw as her mother: hanging onto someone 'strong' and defending all his crimes by pretending he was just depressed and those victims are being unreasonable etc etc.

Larry
Larry

 @merl.allen Are you kidding?  You read what he did to humans, right?

clytamnestra
clytamnestra

 @fratdawgg23

i don't think he was all that depressed anyway, just delusional and psychotic.

 

was he a good doctor at some times? it's possible, i suppose.

but you should also take into account that he was in a rapidly expanding medical field, so in those circumstances it must have been relatively easy for an unfit doctor to make the cut (lot of demand for booby-doctors, and little supply until a new batch finishes med-school)

timelfrinkmia
timelfrinkmia

@carvperformance Thanks! It's truly an only-in-Florida crime story ...

Yaymike20
Yaymike20

@_MrsLibby_G super crazy! How's the preggo life treating u?

justin_khase
justin_khase

@Larry: No Larry, I don't think merl.allen was kidding.

Yaymike20
Yaymike20

@_MrsLibby_G de pipi I feel for u my friend ! It should go away soon! Everyone is good my princess growing be the day wifey is amazing :)

_MrsLibby_G
_MrsLibby_G

@Yaymike20 dude, sick as fck. Lol 3months and 2 wks. So hopefully the nausea and stuff goes away soon! How's the princess? Wifey?

ana_priest
ana_priest

 @Charles  @Larry  @merl.allen Same. I feel kind of guilty that I instinctively empathize more with the cat than anyone else in this story. He doesn't deserve that anymore than they did.

 
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