An Illinois woman has been found dead after she drove her SUV into a lake with her infant son inside following a fire at her home that killed a man, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Six children escaped from the Thursday morning fire at the home in Glen Carbon, Illinois, owned by Cristy Lynn Campbell, 32, and rescuers were also able to save the infant from Campbell’s SUV, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
Campbell’s body was found at the lake about four hours after driving into the water. Her baby son is expected to make a full recovery, police say. Authorities have said the fire and the incident at the lake are connected, and had called Campbell a “person of interest” in the blaze, before she was found dead.
Police said they are still investigating both incidents and say many details about what happened have not yet been determined. No information about the person who died in the house fire has been released by authorities. A neighbor told the newspaper that Campbell lives at the home with her husband and seven children.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Campbell’s Children Sought Help at a Nearby Walmart After Escaping From the Blaze
Firefighters responded to the blaze at Cristy Campbell’s two-story home at 15 Dogwood Lane about 5:30 a.m., police told the Belleville News-Democrat.
Two of Campbell’s children ran to a nearby Walmart to seek help after the fire started. The six kids, all siblings, were all accounted for after the fire, but an adult was found dead inside the house, police said.
The children, who range in age from toddlers to teens, were placed into the care of relatives, according to authorities.
“They are receiving emotional support,” Glen Carbon Police Lieutenant Wayne White told reporters.
2. Her Infant Son Was Pulled From the Lake by Paramedics, Who Performed CPR on the Baby Before He Was Flown to a Hospital
Not long after the fire, rescuers responded to Silver Lake in Highland, Illinois, about 15 miles away from Campbell’s house in Glen Carbon. A silver Nissan Armada was found in the lake with an infant inside. No one else was in the SUV. Campbell’s neighbor, Sherry Ricker, said the SUV pulled from the lake belongs to Campbell’s husband.
“That’s her car,” Ricker told the Belleville-News Democrat.
A passerby saw the SUV in the lake and called police. Paramedics jumped into the frigid lake to pull the infant to safety, KMOV-TV reports.
“One of our paramedics had jumped in the water already and retrieved an infant from the water,” Highland Fire Department Captain Brad Menz told the news station. “They did do CPR on the infant, took the child to the hospital, child was eventually flown to a St. Louis hospital.”
Menz said, “We had guys go into the water with cold suits and we were able to pull the vehicle out of the water.”
The baby boy’s condition isn’t known.
Campbell’s body was later found at the lake, at about 11:30 a.m., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
3. Campbell Gave Birth to Her Son in December & Has 6 Other Children
Campbell gave birth to her son in December, according to posts on her Facebook page.
“My baby boy turned 2 months old yesterday! He weighs 10 lbs 2oz. Hes gained an oz a day since birth!,” she wrote on February 11.
She has six other children and posted several photos of them on her page.
4. She Was an Illinois Native Who Worked in Accounting & Finance
Campbell was a native of Illinois. She attended Edwardsville High School in 2003 and studied accounting and finance at American InterContinental University, according to her Facebook page. She graduated from the online university in 2006 with a degree in business administration, accounting and finance.
She worked as a billing clerk at T-J Transport, a Highland, Illinois-based shipping company, according to her Linkedin profile.
Campbell also says she worked at the Lumiere Place Casino & Hotel in St. Louis, and previously at Accountemps, Domino’s Pizza, Scott Credit Union and Taco Bell.
5. A Neighbor Called Campbell & Her Husband ‘Nice People’
A neighbor, Mitchell Langenhorst, told the Belleville News-Democrat that Campbell, her husband and children were a “normal” family.
“They were nice people,” another neighbor, Sherry Ricker, told the newspaper. “I was really surprised, but I’m glad the kids are OK.”
Glen Carbon Police Lieutenant Wayne White said police had responded to the home “several times” in the past for “day-to-day” calls, but didn’t provide any other details.
“Our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers go out to the entire family for their terrible loss,” White told the News-Democrat.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Campbell was divorced in Madison County, Illinois, in 2012 from a man she refers to as the father of her children on Facebook. In the months before the divorce, Campbell obtained an order of protection against her then-husband, alleging abuse. The order was dismissed about two weeks later, the newspaper reports.