CHICAGO (CBS) — An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker was stabbed to death Tuesday afternoon while conducting a home visit in downstate Sangamon County.

Deidre Silas, 36, was performing a home visit at a home in Thayer, Illinois, about 20 miles south of Springfield, when she was stabbed to death shortly after 4 p.m., according to the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.

READ MORE: Chicago First Alert Weather: Clearing Skies, Wind Chills Bring Sub-Zero Feels-Like Temps

Officers responding to 911 calls about the stabbing had to force their way inside the home, and found Silas dead inside.

Six children, ages 1 to 7, were in the home at the time, but were not injured, and did not witness the stabbing.

“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 said 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.”

READ MORE: Neighbors Help Each Other Dig Out, Plows Get To Work On Side Streets After Lake Effect Snowstorm

Later on Tuesday, police in Decatur, located about 60 miles away, arrested 32-year-old Benjamin Reed in connection with Silas’ death.

Reed has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Gov. JB Pritzker released a statement offering his and his wife MK’s condolences over Silas’ death.

“Today, the State of Illinois mourns the loss of Deidre Silas, a DCFS caseworker and a hero, taken from us in the line of duty. There is no higher calling than the work to keep children and families safe and Deidre lived that value every single day,” Pritzker said. “Our most vulnerable are safer because she chose to serve. I can think of no more profound legacy. MK and I send our deepest condolences to her colleagues at DCFS, her family, and all who loved her.”

MORE NEWS: A Disappointment May Be Coming For St. Patrick's Day: Corned Beef Prices Are Shooting Up, Some Local Butchers Aren't Even Carrying It

 

CBS 2 Chicago Staff