SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (CBS) – A family expressed grief and anger on Tuesday after an Illinois Department of Child and Family Services social worker was stabbed to death in the upstate.
Deidre Silas, 36, was on a home visit to a home in Thayer, Ill., About 20 miles south of Springfield, when she was stabbed to death shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan.4, according to the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
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Officers who answered 911 calls regarding the stabbing had to force their way inside the house and found Silas dead inside.
Six children, aged 1 to 7, were in the house at the time, but were not injured and did not witness the stabbing.
“For me, she was my one and only sister,” said Silas’ brother Mario Graham. “I don’t have any other siblings, so now it’s just me and my parents, and it sucks, because it shouldn’t have happened to my sister.”
Silas’ mother, Barie Graham, pointed out the passion and love for children that inspired her daughter at work.
“It’s hard work, but if you think about children, then this is what you need – if you are called to do it, then go ahead and do it. That’s the kind of love you have for kids, so you’re like, ‘I just want to help someone’s kid,’ ”said Barie Graham. “You know, in any way you can, you just want to help someone’s kid, and I think that’s what Deidre was doing.”
Silas’ father Roy Graham said his daughter was not receiving the honors other officials might receive if they were killed.
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“I guarantee you if there was a cop, or if there was a firefighter, they would be honored. They would be lined up, marching for them, ”he said. “But it’s not like that.”
Later on the day of the murder, police in Decatur, about 100 kilometers away, arrested Benjamin Reed, 32, in connection with Silas’ death.
Reed was charged with first degree murder and aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
“There must be hatred in the mind of this man,” said Mario Graham.
“I wouldn’t mind shooting for the death penalty, but Illinois doesn’t have any more,” added Roy Graham. “At least he’s paying for his crime. There’s no way he can hurt another person.
Last week Governor JB Pritzker issued a statement offering condolences to him and his wife MK on Silas’ death.
“Today, the State of Illinois mourns the loss of Deidre Silas, a DCFS social worker and hero, who was taken from us in the line of duty. There is no higher calling than work in keeping children and families safe and Deidre has lived that value every day, ”said Pritzker. “Our most vulnerable are more secure because she has chosen to serve. I can’t think of any deeper heritage. MK and I extend our deepest condolences to his DCFS colleagues, his family and all who loved him.
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Mario Graham set up a GoFundMe to help his sister’s children.