Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We’re in our Spring Fundraiser and you can help! Support KSMU programming today!

Southern Missouri man made famous by white supremacist rally photo dies at 35

White nationalists carry torches on the eve of a Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., on August 11, 2017.
Alejandro Alvarez
/
Reuters
White nationalists carry torches on the eve of a Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., on August 11, 2017. A Missouri man featured in a similar photo of the protest that later went viral died on January 30, 2023.

Teddy Joseph Von Nukem was a Missouri man made famous by appearing in a 2017 photo from a Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally, as protesters carried torches and chanted “Jews will not replace us.” He recently died by suicide.

Von Nukem died January 30. The 35-year-old was born in Arizona but reportedly had ties to the Lebanon area here in the Ozarks.

At the time of his death, court records show Von Nukem faced federal charges for allegedly trafficking 33 pounds of fentanyl across the Mexico border into Arizona. He didn’t show up for a court date on the day of his death — and the case was later dropped.

In a brief interview with KSMU on Wednesday morning, Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater confirmed Von Nukem died by suicide and that he left suicide notes.

She said first responders tried treating Von Nukem with CPR for “several minutes” after he was found, before determining his heart had stopped. Lasater said Von Nukem had been living in the tiny community of Hartshorn. According to his obituary, his survivors include his wife and five children.

The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville made global headlines back in 2017, just months after former U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Trump denounced what he called a "display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” and faced blowback from critics who said the president was excusing or promoting racism.

One counterprotester died in a vehicular homicide linked to the rally.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available by text message or phone call, 24 hours per day in English and Spanish. More information is available at 988lifeline.org.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.