An Illinois man is in custody after he allegedly fatally stabbed a caseworker who was doing a wellbeing check on young children at his home, officials said.
On Jan. 4 around 4 p.m., Department of Children and Family Services caseworker Deidre Silas, 36, was looking into a report of children in danger at a Thayer, Illinois, residence, NPR Illinois reported.
Police called to the home about a woman possibly stabbed found what appeared to be blood near the home's door, according to the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
When officers entered, officials said, officers found Silas dead.
Detectives identified a resident of the home, 36-year-old Benjamin H. Reed, as a suspect in Silas’ homicide and located and arrested him at a hospital in Decatur.
Reed was booked into the Sangamon County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Sheriff Jack Campbell said six children, ages 1 to 7, and several adults were living at the Thayer residence at the time of the slaying. The children, who were reportedly uninjured, were removed from the home and placed in protective custody.
The victim had just started working at DCFS in August, NPR Illinois reported. She was previously employed for seven years with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.
“This tragedy is a stark reminder that frontline DCFS employees like Deidre do demanding, dangerous and essential jobs every day, often despite inadequate resources and tremendous stress” the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union said in a statement, noting, “One death in the line of service is too many.”
Roberta Lynch, executive director of AFSCME Council 31 said Silas “dedicated her career to helping young people.”
She added: “We are heartbroken.”