BELLEVILLE - A woman from Belleville is facing one felony and a misdemeanor after allegedly making “racially charged” death threats against an employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

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Shannon B. Benavidez, 43, of Belleville, was charged with threatening a public official and harassment by telephone on Jan. 25, 2024. Benavidez allegedly made racially charged verbal threats towards a DCFS employee, according to Madison County court documents.

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A petition filed to deny Benavidez’s pretrial release specifically states that she “made multiple phone calls conveying racially charged verbal threats against a DCFS employee.” In one message, she reportedly called the DCFS employee a racial slur and a “bitch,” immediately followed by the words, “you’re dead.”

The petition also states Benavidez was previously known by DCFS because she surrendered her parental rights to a minor child in March of 2022. It adds that “her ongoing threats and harassment pose an ongoing danger to DCFS employees.”

Benavidez faces a Class 3 felony for threatening a public official and a Class B misdemeanor for harassment by telephone. Her case was presented by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and court documents indicate she was remanded to be held in jail until her initial appearance in court.

The issuance of charges is based solely upon probable cause and is not an indication of guilt. All subjects charged with criminal offenses are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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