Mom pushes for law for to help babies

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Imagine the father of your child dying while you’re pregnant and being unable to prove paternity. It’s what one woman is dealing with after her fiance was murdered in Danville last fall.

Lucas Stark was murdered on Florida Street, in October, while his girlfriend, Jessica Richardson, was about seven months pregnant. Now, she’s fighting to get Stark’s name on her son’s birth certificate.

“It’s been cruel. It’s been tortuous. I’ve been dealing with this for seven months. It’s like, you relive the same day over and over.”

Richardson lives in Texas, in a home she shared with Stark until October 22. That’s when police say he was murdered by Marcus Carter while visiting family in Danville before his son was born on Dec. 17.

But Richardson couldn’t add Stark’s name to the birth certificate. Seven months later, still no luck.

“I’ve reached out to everyone: governors, mayors, district attorneys.”

They all say she needs a court order for his DNA which can be expensive. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup isn’t involved in this case, but he says the rules are in place for a reason.

“I realize it’s a difficult position for the parent of the child to be in, but unfortunately, we have no way of knowing or proving until the DNA sample is tested, if the deceased was actually the parent of the child.”

Richardson thinks there has to be a better way to do things, so she started a petition, hoping to change the rules; not for her, but for mothers like her.

“My son, luckily, his grandparents were alive, his biological grandparents, so we can recreate his dad’s DNA. In about two weeks, I can have that. My son will be protected. This does not help him. It helps future kids like him. Future mothers like me.”

Northrup says, in some cases, the beneficiaries of the deceased can sign a form to release DNA. Richardson says she submitted a signed form to the Vermilion County DA earlier this year but still hasn’t gotten the DNA.

Learn more here.  

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