CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — More than a dozen deputies were recognized for hard work and dedication Wednesday.
The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office held its annual Awards Ceremony. Several were commended for work bringing Richard Stover to justice.
In December, the robbery and murder suspect led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through the county. Stover was eventually caught in Mahomet. In June, he was sentenced to 55-years in prison for killing his mother.
Another winner of one of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office award now shares a special bond with a woman who called for help last year.
What stated as a bad moment caught on video, led to a relationship this mother says she wouldn’t trade for the world.
Melissa Coulter lives in rural Thomasboro. With no nearby neighbors to keep an eye on her, her stepfather got her this camera to keep an eye on her house when she’s not here. But, she never thought she would used it to catch someone battering her child.
“I had brought it in to change the batteries in it and, when I changed the batteries in it, I stuck it on the fish tank.”
She returned home to disturbing pictures of the babysitter.
“It was utterly devastating. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I thought there was no way, I just saw this woman kick my 15-month old child across the room.”
Now, Ryker Johnson is almost 2. He’s doing fine and can hardly sit still. It’s a happy ending for him, but a scary beginning for Coulter.
Part of it started when Sheriff’s Deputy Chelsey Keyes arrived to help.
“She was amazing from the start.”
Keyes was honored for going above and beyond.
“It’s not the most fun call to go to, but you’re also glad to help them out.”
Not only did she get the suspect to admit to battering her child, she also got him and his brother Christmas gifts and has been a family friend ever since.
“That means the absolute world to me. That means the world to the boys. She set a fantastic example of, not only law enforcement, but humankind.”
“I’m just glad he’s doing alright and we got it taken care of.”
44-year old Dana Chounard was arrested and charged with battery. Last month, she was convicted and sentenced to two years conditional discharge, meaning, she’ll be on probation, but won’t see a probation officer.