The disgraced former doctor opened up to Harrison, his neighbor, about his emotional turmoil. "[He said he did] not want her to be there," Harrison later told police, "[and he did] not know what to do."

Police say Joan's sons were worried about taking their mother back to Tucker's house. Carter McDonald later told police that his mom and his girlfriend were both "scared of Glen." The two believed the old man had guns in the house and asked Carter to remove them.

Five days after Carter dropped his paralyzed mom off on Tortuga Lane, Tucker loaded his Colt .45, shot Joan five times, killed his cat Luther, and then ended his own life.


Glen Tucker was one of Wisconsin's most prominent plastic surgeons.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
Glen Tucker was one of Wisconsin's most prominent plastic surgeons.
"Mary" was 27 when Tucker mangled her breasts in a botched implant surgery.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
"Mary" was 27 when Tucker mangled her breasts in a botched implant surgery.

When Jan Lehman read the Monroe County Sheriff's report and confirmed the same Glen Tucker who had ruined her face had killed his wife and himself, she was angry all over again.

"He was a monster," she says. "Trying to describe him to someone who's never encountered pure evil is very difficult for me. If you can understand Hannibal Lecter, that's the closest I can get to how dangerous, how capable of evil this man was."

Lehman spent 20 years trying to regain what she'd lost under Tucker's knife. She connected with others who had suffered from his surgeries and tried to understand why — in her opinion — he had deliberately mangled her face. To her, the murder-suicide was the final exclamation point on a life devoted to inflicting pain.

Even as Lehman's physical pain lingered, her emotional struggle worsened. For eight years after moving to Texas, she refused to see another doctor. When she finally mustered the courage in 1988, "the doctor told me he'd never seen a nose as mangled as mine," Lehman says.

Today, she can breathe more or less normally and has regained some of her sense of smell and taste.

Mary, the other victim, agrees with Lehman that Tucker wasn't simply incompetent. "I believe he was a psychopath," she says. "He showed absolutely no emotion as he was hurting you."

Tucker's daughter vehemently denies that her dad was malicious. Despite the number of complaints facing Tucker when he fled to Florida, she still thinks he was a good doctor.

"People who have their noses and breasts done, they're often dissatisfied," says Virginia, who now works as a nurse. "Plastic surgery can leave some brutal scarring."

Virginia has had a harder time comprehending Tucker's final choice — to kill himself and his wife. But she denies it was an act of pure violence. "He was a proud man, and he was not about to be put in a nursing home," she says. "He wouldn't come live with me, no matter how often I tried to talk him into it."

After Joan's stroke, he was in an untenable position. "To leave her uncared-for was unthinkable for him," she says. "In his totally irrational thinking, death was the only way out... Was it heinous and shocking and awful? Oh my gosh, yes. Of course. But was it a malevolent, evil act? I don't think so."

To Jan Lehman, though, it was a final bloody act in a life punctuated by violence. "I'm not at all surprised his life ended with a bullet," she says. "I'm surprised he didn't take more people with him."

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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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