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Flags lowered to honor slain Illinois child welfare worker

Flags were to be returned to their traditional spot at sunset Saturday.

Benjamin Reed, 32, faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the stabbing death of DCFS investigator, Dierdre Silas, 36, who was conducting a welfare check on children living in a home in Thayer, Illinois. Here, Silas is pictured in 2011 outside the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Flags at Illinois state office buildings were lowered for three days to honor a child welfare worker who was stabbed to death this month.[1]

Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered that U.S. and Illinois flags be set at half-staff beginning at sunrise Thursday in honor of Deidre Silas, a child protection specialist for the Department of Children and Family Services. Flags were to be returned to their traditional spot at sunset Saturday.

Silas, 36, was responding to a call about possibly endangered children at a home in Thayer, south of Springfield, on Jan. 5.

She was met at the door by an assailant who stabbed her and fled, according to authorities.

Benjamin Reed, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint. Officials said Reed lived in the home and was related to one or more of the seven children residing there.

He is being held without bond in the Sangamon County Jail.

Silas, who for years worked with troubled children in the Department of Juvenile Justice, had just joined DCFS last summer. Family members said that even as a teenager she had volunteered to work with children.

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Notes & References

  1. Chicago Journal. “DCFS Worker Fatally Stabbed during Welfare Check.” Chicago Journal. Chicago Journal, January 6, 2022. ↩︎