Violence Against Workers Continues as Multiple Employees Stabbed in Separate Incidents

11 Jan, 2022 Liz Carey


Thayer, IL ( – Violence against workers while doing their jobs – whether from customers or co-workers – continued during the New Year in separate incidents this week. 

In Thayer, Illinois, police said a child protection specialist was found dead Tuesday in house where she was performing a home visit. The six children she was checking on, ages 1 to 7, were present when the stabbing took place, police said. 

Diedra Silas, 36, died of “multiple sharp force injuries and blunt force trauma,” the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday. 

Police have arrested 32-year0old Benjamin Reed in connection with the stabbing. Officers found Reed at a hospital in Decatur where he was looking for treatment for a minor wound. Reed lived in the house where the woman was attacked. He was charged with first degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. 

Officials said Silas was dedicated to helping children. 

“The Department of Children and Family Services is deeply saddened by the tragic death of our colleague, Deidre Silas,” DCFS Director Marc D. Smith said in a statement. “Our most heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time. 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.” 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) said they would be looking into the circumstances of her death. 

"The perpetrator of this unspeakable crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch in a statement. This tragedy is a stark reminder that frontline DCFS employees like Deidre do demanding, dangerous and essential jobs every day, often despite inadequate resources and tremendous stress.” 

Lynch said Silas has only started her career at DCFS in August 2021, but had previously worked in behavioral health and had worked with the Department of Juvenile Justice for seven years. Lunch said the organization will be studying the facts of the incident to determine whether or not any changes in operation at DCFS were warranted. 

In New Jersey, a long-standing feud between two employees at a ShopRite in Clark, N.J. ended when one co-worker stabbed the other. 

Melissa Prince, 57, was arrested Sunday, after she allegedly had enough of her deli department co-worker, officials said. 

Several employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told RLS Media that Prince grabbed the biggest knife in the deli, chased her co-worker around the store and said “you will finally leave me alone today” while stabbing the victim numerous times. 

“The victim and the suspect have had a long dispute that was known to management and every employee knew that the pair had issues with each other,” one witness told RLS Media. 

The victim, a 24-year employee of the store, was taken to a hospital in Newark for treatment. On Tuesday afternoon she was listed in critical, but stable condition, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Sheets told the New York Post. 

Prince was arrested at the scene and later charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault and weapons possession counts. 

And in Zachary, Louisiana, police are looking for whoever attacked a female postal worker on New Year’s Eve. 

Authorities said the postal worker was stabbed while on the job at the Audubon Park Apartment Complex. Police responded to a gas station in Zachary when the postal worker showed up there with stab wounds. After scouring the woods near the complex, police still have no suspects, they said. 

“It’s extremely unusual,” Dr. Stephanie Sullivan to WBRZ News. “I used to work at this store. It’s so close to home. It’s unbelievable.” 

Residents of the apartment building say a change in their mail delivery may be to blame. According to some residents, those living in the apartment complex recently received a notice saying they would have to pick up their mail at the post office this week. 

The Baton Rouge Police Department is working with the U. S. Postal Service to investigate the incident. 

"The security of all postal employees is essential,” the USPS said in a statement. “The Postal Service provides mandatory safety training and instructions to all employees and ensures they have the resources needed to do their job safely. We routinely remind our employees, especially our letter carriers, to always be aware of their surroundings. Letter carriers often become part of the communities they serve, and we depend on our customers to help maintain this vigilance. If customers see something, we ask them to say something, by contacting local law enforcement or the Postal Inspection Service. Privacy guidelines prevent us from discussing the specific employee involved in this matter. The Postal Service is working with the property management company to assess the situation and determine how best to maintain safe delivery. Customers will be provided additional information regarding their mail service."

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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