Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Beth Hundsdorfer

Investigative Reporter
Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and his attorney Scott Rosenblum arrive Monday afternoon at the federal courthouse in St. Louis for Stenger's arraignment on federal charges. April 29 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday with bribery, mail fraud and depriving citizens of honest services of a public official. He entered a plea of not guilty on Monday. He also resigned from office.

Sister Julia Huiskamp started an afterschool program called the Griffin Center said the availability of guns is a failing of the government.
Derik Holtmann | BND

Editor’s note: There were 341 unsolved murders in East St. Louis between 2000 and 2018. In many of these cases, police had evidence and suspects, but no charges were filed. Here is one of those cases. This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The darkened streets near St. Clair Avenue in East St. Louis were good places to hunt for women.

Alexis Winston was found shot to death in her apartment in the John Robinson Homes in East St. Louis.
Florince Harlan

Editor’s note: There were 341 unsolved murders in East St. Louis between 2000 and 2018. In many of these cases, police had evidence and suspects, but no charges were filed. Here is one of those cases. This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

An early morning phone call with a frantic woman’s voice is countered by the dispatcher’s measured, calm tone.

“He’s breaking in my house now. Please hurry! Please hurry! Hello?” the woman cries.

Catholic Diocese of Belleville Deacon Coordinator Robert Lanter was arraigned on a sex charge on Friday. April 26, 2019
St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office

The Deacon Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Belleville was arraigned Friday on criminal sexual assault charges.

A grand jury indicted Robert Lanter, of Swansea, on April 12. Lanter entered a plea of not guilty Friday.

The charges state the victim was a 29-year-old woman who could not give consent.

East St. Louis Public Housing Residents Are Terrified They’ll Be Murder Victims Next

Apr 25, 2019
A body is removed from the John DeShields Housing Project after a murder there.
Derik Holtmann | BND

This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The courtyard at the Roosevelt Homes public housing complex on North 44th Street is filled with the sounds of children playing, the thump of a basketball on the court, neighbors laughing and talking.

Sometimes those everyday sounds are overtaken by the sounds that come at night: a pounding at the door. Gunshots. Screams. A child’s whispered prayer asking for it all to stop.

“I would ask for God to stop the shooting,” one little girl wrote in a children’s newsletter for an after-school program in the city.

This is part of living in the most dangerous areas of East St. Louis, which statistically has the highest murder rate in the country.

A child attends a rally in East St. Louis, a city that averages 24 murders a year, nearly five times the national average.
Zia Nizami | BND

This article originally appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The boy was inches from his mother when she took her final breaths.

The man who shot her ran away, leaving the 3-year-old strapped in a car seat, a vulnerable witness to a horror that still haunts him.

Three years later, the boy’s father was shot to death during a neighborhood barbecue. The boy heard gunshots and saw his dying father lying in the grass, unable to move.

This child was barely old enough to attend school when he saw his father killed.

After the president of Lindenwood University's Belleville campus was dismissed, several Belleville officials started worrying that the campus was in trouble.
File photo | Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

After Lindenwood University unexpectedly dismissed the leaders of its two campuses, several people — especially at the Belleville location — have been left to wonder what the departures mean.

The city of Belleville made a $3 million taxpayer commitment to Lindenwood University’s Belleville campus. So it’s understandable that Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert was concerned about the future of the campus when Lindenwood Belleville President Brett Barger was placed on administrative leave Nov. 1 without explanation.

The community’s concern was evident in several emails obtained by St. Louis Public Radio under an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request.

Three veterans filed suit in Illinois' Third Judicial Circuit against Purdue Pharma and more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, alleging they marketed dangerous painkilling drugs to vets.
David Kovaluk, Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

For years after he got out of the Navy, Joel Bishop took morphine twice a day.

He used four or five Percocet in between those doses.

“I lived around that pill bottle. It’s the only reason I had a watch,” Bishop said. “I couldn’t wait until it was time to open that bottle.”

On Friday, Bishop and two other veterans filed suit in Illinois’ Third Judicial Circuit, which includes Madison and Bond counties, against Purdue Pharma and more than a dozen other pharmaceutical companies, alleging they marketed dangerous painkilling drugs to vets.

A flotilla of brightly colored umbrellas hang suspended outside of the LouFest Store were used as a common meeting place throughout the weekend.
File Photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Organizers of the LouFest music festival have filed suit against one of its contractors, alleging that the owner of sound-and-lighting vendor Logic Systems sabotaged the 2018 festival and planned to take the event over from its management.

Listen Live Entertainment filed suit on Friday in the St. Louis Circuit Court against Logic Systems and its president Chip Self. The suit alleges that Self made “negative, misleading comments,” exaggerated statements regarding funding issues and suggested LouFest would be cancelled.

Lindenwood University

Arthur Johnson was appointed interim president of Lindenwood University earlier this week, where 10,000 students attend classes.

In an interview with student newspaper, Lindenlink, Johnson said that he decided to forgo his college education, choosing instead to work at his father’s advertising agency.

Karen Lee died in an Oct. 29 fire at former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton's home, pictured here.
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Her lungs were filled with carbon monoxide and her body covered with burns when firefighters pulled Karen Lee’s body from former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton’s burning home.

The deadly fire is just the latest problem for Hamilton.

From 2012 to July 2016, Hamilton spent more than $280,000 using a taxpayer supported credit card issued to the township. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence in federal prison for wire fraud. Federal prosecutors recently seized Hamilton’s retirement to pay $40,000 in restitution.