SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A family expressed grief and anger Tuesday after an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services caseworker was stabbed to death downstate.

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. Tuesday, Jan. 4, according to the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.

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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.

“To me, that was my one and only sister,” said Silas’ brother, Mario Graham. “I have no other siblings, so now it’s just me and my parents, and it sucks, because that shouldn’t have happened to my sister.”

Deidre Silas

Deidre Silas (Credit: Silas Family)

Silas’ mother, Barie Graham, emphasized the passion and the love for children that inspired her daughter on the job.

“it’s a challenging job, but if you’re thinking about the kids, then this is what – if you’re called to do it, then go ahead and do it. That’s the kind of love if you have for kids, then you think like, ‘I want to just help somebody’s child,’” Barie Graham said. “You know, whatever way you can, you just want to help somebody’s child, and I think that’s what Deidre was doing.”

Silas’ father, Roy Graham, said his daughter is not receiving the honors that other public servants might if they lost their lives.

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“I guarantee if there was a cop, or if there was a firefighter, they would get honor. They would be lined up, marching for them” he said. “But it’s not like that.”

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

Benjamin Reed

Benjamin Reed (Credit: Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office)

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

“There has to be hate in that man’s mind,” said Mario Graham.

“I wouldn’t mind shooting for the death penalty, but Illinois doesn’t have that no more,” added Roy Graham “At least he’s paying for his crime. There’s no way he can hurt another person.”

Last week, 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.”

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Mario Graham has set up a GoFundMe to help his sister’s children.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff