Deidre Silas DCFS case worker stabbed to death by Benjamin Reed during Illinois house visit. Suspect was father of six children who lived at home.
An Illinois child welfare worker was stabbed to death as she conducted a visit at a home with six children, authorities said.
Benjamin Reed, 32, has been arrested over the attack on 36-year-old Deidre Silas after she entered his Thayler home, south of Springfield, alone for the welfare check on Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities haven’t revealed why Silas — who was an investigator for the state Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)— was carrying out the checks, or whether there were any known threats at the home.
Reed, who is believed to be related to at least one of the children, was taken into custody following the stabbing when cops found him at a nearby hospital.
He was being treated for a cut to his hand, Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said.
It wasn’t clear if any of the kids witnessed the violence inside the home — but all of them were in protective custody as of Wednesday, the sheriff said.
DCFS Director Marc Smith said the agency trains its staff in how to approach various situations, including going into a volatile environment.
He added that staff members decide whether to go alone, in pairs or ask for police assistance.
‘In this tragic circumstance, the family we were there to help had a negative response to our presence,’ Smith said according to CBS Chicago.
‘We’re not avoiding any responsibility. We take responsibility for all of our staff, as well as the children and families that we serve. We will continue to work, we will continue to improve our policies and procedures as we can.’
Silas had only just joined the department last August after working for seven years in the behavioral health field at the Department of Juvenile Justice according to ABC7.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it was reviewing the circumstances of the stabbing to determine if more needs to be done to protect child welfare workers.
Reed is facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint over Silas’ death WQAD News8 reported.
He is being held on a $5 million bond.
Thayer, a village of about 700 people, is 22 miles southwest of Springfield on Illinois 4. It is on the southern tip of Sangamon County.