SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office is holding a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to provide details on the fatal stabbing of DCFS worker Diedra Silas Wednesday in Thayer. A suspect, Benjamin Reed, is facing charges.
You can follow this page for live updates. WCIA Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Maxwell is also covering the news conference.
Speakers will include Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright, Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell, and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc D. Smith.
Live updates below:
Campbell: after 4pm, there was 911 call about a possible stabbing. Officers noticed blood outside home, forced entry and found victim dead. Gathered information on suspect quickly, found suspect possibly headed to Decatur where he had family.
Smith: yesterday was one of the most difficult days in the history of DCFS. Words fall short in expressing sadness and sense of loss.
Smith: Social work is more than just a job, it’s a calling. Those who knew Silas called her an incredible person.
Smith: DCFS is offering support to its employees.
Campbell: several adults lived in the home. The kids in the home are in protective custody now. Not clear how much of the incident they witnessed.
Smith: DCFS policy is for workers to visit homes. There are safety protocols in place to identify danger and reach out to police for support. But we live in a world where circumstances change quickly.
Smith [asked about if police were called to the home with the DCFS worker]: can’t speak to details of the case but protocols were followed.
Wright: to preserve the integrity of the investigation, not going to give details on the case. Not going to say if there were previous calls to the home.
Wright: Reed has been in jail since Tuesday. Formerly charged Wednesday with first degree murder, aggravated battery, and unlawful restraint. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face life in prison. Reed will be in arraignment Thursday.
Smith: DCFS will go in pairs when they feel it’s appropriate. Family we were there to help had a negative response. DCFS takes responsibility for staff and children we serve. We will continue to update protocols. DCFS will support Silas’ family.
Smith: last DCFS line of duty death was four year ago.
Smith [asked about lawmakers upping penalties for assaulting a DCFS worker]: would welcome any support from lawmakers because we’re all in this together. Not going to get into specific legislation.
Smith: staffing levels at DCFS do not impact whether workers go in pairs.
Campbell: deputies historically have assisted DCFS workers. We will continue to do so.
Campbell: the six kids [who were in the home] are safe and unharmed.
Wright: DCFS workers face the same risks as law enforcement. DCFS workers are true heroes in protecting the children of our state.
The press conference ended shortly before 4 p.m.