Prosecutors in southern Illinois say they're prepared to file murder charges against the uncle of a 7-year-old girl whose body was found near her home in the small town of Watson.
Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says he expects to charge 22-year-old Justin DeRyke on Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of Willow Long. The girl went missing Sunday from her home as her mother napped. Four volunteers searching for Willow found her body Monday night. Watson is just south of Effingham.
Two former St. Louis Parks Division officials have pleaded guilty to embezzling over $400,000 from the Parks Division.
The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Missouri says Joseph Vacca, former deputy commissioner of the St. Louis Parks Division, and Thomas Stritzel, former chief of the St. Louis Park Rangers pleaded guilty to the charges. According to the Attorney's office, it was through a system of false invoices that the two men acquired the money and used it for personal expenses including automobile leases, credit card payments and other items.
St. Louis City is currently ranked as the fourth most dangerous city in the nation by CQ Press, based on FBI reports of the number of crimes committed in 2011. But according to St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson and University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor Richard Rosenfeld, those numbers fail to tell the whole story.
It’s been a good first six months on the job for St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson when it comes to crime numbers.
Compared to the same period last year, overall crime in the city is down more than 7 percent in the first half of 2013. Crimes against persons, like homicides and assaults, are down 20 percent. And most crimes are trending well below five-year averages, though Dotson says he is concerned about an uptick in burglaries in recent weeks.
Congressman Lacy Clay of St. Louis says the federal government may soon be able to help local police as they try to combat crime in some parts of the city.
The St. Louis Police Department has recently reassigned some officers to so-called “hot spots” where violent crime continues to be a problem. Clay says there should be announcements in the next few months about combined federal-and-local crime-fighting efforts.