The Job Sometimes 'Hurt Her Soul.' On Tuesday, It Killed Her

Department of Children and Family Services investigator killed while checking on kids
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2022 2:00 AM CST
She Went to Check on Kids' Welfare, Was Killed
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell discusses the stabbing death of state child welfare worker Diedre Silas during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Springfield, Ill.   (AP Photo/John O'Connor)

Deidre Silas went to a home in Thayer, Ill., to check on a report of kids in danger. The 36-year-old Department of Children and Family Services investigator ended up dead. Police got a call about a possible stabbing and responded to the home to find Silas dead, McClatchy News reports. Six children ranging in age from 1 to 7 were at the home when she was killed, and a 32-year-old suspect was ultimately found at a hospital 60 miles away, being treated for a minor cut on his hand. He was arrested and charged with murder, the State Journal-Register reports. Silas' cause of death was multiple sharp force injuries and blunt force trauma.

The governor of Illinois called Silas a hero, and another official said in a statement, "This tragedy is a stark reminder that frontline DCFS employees like Deidre do demanding, dangerous and essential jobs every day, often despite inadequate resources and tremendous stress." Silas herself had once said of her job, "Kids unleash a lot on you even in the role I’m in, and it hurts your soul. But I have always been a people person, and I like helping people." The mother of two joined DCFS in August, having previously worked in behavioral health and at the Department of Juvenile Justice. The suspect's relationship to the children, who are all safe and in protective custody, was not clear. (More Illinois stories.)

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