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Deidre Silas, a 36-year-old Illinois Department of Children and Family Services welfare worker, was stabbed to death last week during a home visit after responding to a call regarding the possible endangerment of six children ages 1-7 living in a home in Thayer, IL.

Silas was fatally attacked shortly after 4 p.m. on Jan. 4, according to the Sangamon County Sherriff’s Office. CBS 2 Chicago detailed that none of the children in the home witnessed the stabbing, and officers who responded to the 911 call about the tragic incident had to “force their way inside the home” where they found Silas dead.

Police found and arrested 32-year-old Benjamin Reed in connection to Silas’ death around 6:30 p.m. that day at a hospital in Decatur, IL where he was treated for a cut on his hand. The suspect is related to a least one of the six children, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

Reed is being held in Sangamon County Jail and faces charges including first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The children in the home at the time of the incident are currently in protective custody.

Silas’ family members are reportedly confused and frustrated about how a tragic incident like this could happen as they mourn the social worker’s passing.

“Because it is not fair that my wife died protecting someone else’s children when she has her own,” husband Andre Silas told the press on Jan. 5.

“The Department of Children and Family Services is deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague, Deidre Silas. Our most heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” DCFS Director Marc Smith expressed in a statement. “Social work is more than just a job, it is a calling. Deidre responded to this call and dedicated herself to the children, families and communities she served, and we will be forever grateful for her work. She was an incredible person, and her brightness and positivity will be missed not only by her family and friends, but also her second family at DCFS.”

AFSCME Executive Director Roberta Lynch additionally noted, “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.”

We send our prayers and wish Silas’ family healing during this difficult time. RIP. 

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