Benjamin ReedTHAYER - A 36-year-old Department of Children and Family Services child protection specialist - Deidra Silas - was stabbed and died while on a home visit in the 300 block of West Elm Street in Thayer, Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said today. Thayer is a small town approximately 20 miles south of Springfield.

Six children from ages 1 to 7 years old were there at the home when the stabbing occurred. Thankfully, the children were apparently not injured and have been taken into DCFS custody.

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Officers from Divernon, Auburn, and Pawnee assisted the Sangamon County deputies at the scene. Officers found the woman deceased at the scene from the stabbing. The call came in at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The suspect, 32-year-old Benjamin Reed, was taken into custody later in the evening in connection with the stabbing. Officers found him seeking medical treatment for a wound at a Decatur hospital.

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State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield) released the following statement regarding the tragic loss of life of Deidra Silas.

“The senseless death of Deidre Silas, a DCFS investigator who dedicated her career to helping at-risk youth, is devastating. My heart goes out to all who love her during this difficult time.”

“The work is challenging, and can clearly be dangerous. One death in the line of service is too many. We must do a better job of protecting those who serve in positions like these.”

Preliminary charges include first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

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