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State Trooper holds abducted infant Samiyah Nichols after finding her in a vehicle on I-57 in extreme northern Jefferson County Friday morning. Submitted photo.

Illinois State Police officers safely located an abducted an eight month old infant on Interstate 57 in Jefferson County just south of the Marion County line early Friday morning.  Three occupants of the car from northern Illinois and Indiana face possible charges in connection with the incident.

The infant, identified as Samiyah Nichols, was initially reported as being abducted by three subjects in Memphis, Tennessee at approximately 4:15  Friday morning.  Illinois State Police was later contacted by Missouri Highway Patrol who believed the suspects were traveling in a 2005 Ford and may have entered Illinois state lines at approximately 8:00 Friday morning.  Illinois State Police officers and investigators immediately saturated Interstate 57 in search of the suspected vehicle.  

Intelligence was developed by the ISP Statewide Terrorism Information Center (STIC) suggesting the suspects were traveling in a 2005 Ford 4-door vehicle, owned by a relative.  At approximately 9:15 Friday morning, an Illinois State Trooper located the vehicle near the Dix exit, and with the assistance of other agencies, including deputies from the Jefferson County and Marion County Sheriff's Departments, the 2005 Ford was stopped near milepost 106 without incident and the infant was safely recovered unharmed.  

The infant was immediately transported to an area hospital for further evaluation.  She was later released from an area hospital in good condition and remains in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.  

Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau praised the quick thinking and fast response of the ISP troopers and other agencies involved.  "An infant child was placed in harm's way and law enforcement wasted no time in apprehending these dangerous and careless individuals," Grau said. 

The three suspects taken into custody are identified as 28-year-old Brandon M. Wright of Homewood, IL; 27-year-old Betty Jo Mitchell of Muncie, IN; and 29-year-old Samuel Nichols of Chicago.  Samuel Nichols is believed to be the biological father.  Wright and Mitchell have been released and Nichols remains in custody on an unrelated warrant.  Formal charges are pending for all three subjects. 

The collaborative effort that lead to the arrest of the three subjects and safe recovery of the child included officers from ISP Zone 7, District 12, District 13, District 22, Air Operations, STIC; Illinois Secretary of State Police; Jefferson County Sheriff's Department; Marion County Sheriff's Department; Missouri Highway Patrol; Memphis, Tennessee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Squad cars from multiple departments along I-57 near the Marion-Jefferson County Line where kidnapped infant was recovered unharmed. Submitted photo.


Three people were airlifted to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis following a single vehicle wreck on the Bannister Road near the Cedar Road intersection Thursday afternoon.  

Marion County Sheriff's Deputies say Timothy Johnson of Dweebie Road in Salem was northbound on the Bannister Road when he ran off the side of the pavement, overcorrected, ran off the south side of the road, and rolled two to three times.  The vehicle came to rest on its wheels off the right side of the road.   

Johnson was trapped in his SUV and had to be freed by Iuka Firemen.   He was airlifted by the scene to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. 

Two children in the SUV were able to get out on their own.  12-year-old Amily Johnson and 13-year-old Drake Hill of the same Dwebe Road address were initially transported to Salem Township Hospital and then transferred to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.  

The crash occurred at about 5:20 Thursday night.  


Salem Chamber President Tim Hudspeth asks Fabick Branch Manager Bud Mulvany a question during the industry tour.


Fabick Caterpillar on West Main Street in Salem opened its doors to the Salem business community on Thursday to show off the facility and explain the amount of work that flows through the Salem facility.  

Branch Manager Bud Mulvany says the local Fabick facility has 30 employees, including nine mechanics in the shop and eight who work in the field on a 24 hour call basis.  He reports the Salem branch has been responsible for eight million dollars in sales so far this year, along with five million dollars in part sales and 2.5-million in service labor.  

Parts Supervisor Ryan Petrea says the Salem branch stocks nearly 7,500 parts with a market value of $1-million to $1.5-million dollars.   He reports they can get most needed parts to the customers quickly.

"We're running 99 percent of the time, and we can that part the next day, if we don't have it in stock. We have a shuttle that runs nightly from Morton, Illinois, which is out distribution center, and that runs to Fenton, which then runs to [us]" said Petrea.

Petrea says their part supply is so vast they ship to customers throughout the U.S. as well as Canada and Mexico.   Those working at the branch also rebuild some of the parts for reuse.   

Mulvany notes they are seeing a lot of new equipment for repair and service as pipeline construction has geared up to bring additional capacity to the Patoka Oil Tank Farm.   

The Salem branch is currently undergoing a $200,000 renovation of the rear portion of the building to improve the washing and paint shop operations.  


Challenger Eric Thorsland (left) and Incumbent Congressman John Shimkus (Right) in the WJBD studio.


The two candidates vying to win a seat in the US House of Representatives for 15th Illinois Congressional District met face-to-face for the first and only time during the campaign season, inside the WJBD Radio Studios in Salem.

Incumbent Congressman John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican and former Schoolteacher who has held the position since 1997, and challenger Eric Thorsland, a Mahomet Democrat and University of Illinois Research Engineer squared off on a variety of issues. Both gave their opinions and positions on questions ranging from Fracking and Natural Resources, how to best contain an Ebola Outbreak, Obamacare and the potential closure of the Murray Developmental Center.

During the forum, Thorsland attempted to paint Shimkus as an out-of-touch incumbent supported by the "rich 1%".

"One of the big questions I get all the time is 'how are you going to fight a candidate who has so much money?' To a person, they're tired of all this money in politics. And why? I was in Metropolis, Illinois, with the United Steel workers, who have been locked out of the Honeywell plant since August 2nd. They went to the congressman's office to maybe get some help--they met with his staffer, who told him they didn't get involved in labor issues" said Thorsland.

Thorsland's campaign has raised and spent only $12,000, compared to the $1.6 million raised by Shimkus. 

Shimkus says he's proud to enjoy wide support from people in Southern Illinois.

"The folks in the 15th district know me very well, and I'm proud to be supported by political action committees, [which are] made up of members who voluntarily give up their money to candidates they support. Like, the Carpenter Union who has supported me, the the letter carriers union, who has supported me. [I'm supported by] a lot of organized labor. This is a labor state. I think I've shown over the years that I'm open and accessible" said Shimkus.

Shimkus says his conservative politics fit well with the "DNA" of the Illinois 15th District.

Shimkus, a self-described social and fiscal conservative, promoted his position of lower regulation; supporting fracking expansion in Illinois and a continued use of coal power, and has previously stated that he would not vote for a federal minimum wage increase. Shimkus opposes Obamacare, and has called for large-scale reforms to the law. On defense and homeland security, Shimkus supports a ban on travel from Ebola stricken countries, supports the current campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and disagrees with police over-militarization--but added that some sale of military grade equipment to local police forces was acceptable. Shimkus is pro-life, and against increased gun control.

Thorsland, a gun owning social and fiscal liberal, detailed his support of environmentally conscious regulation; supporting fracking only after steps are taken to ensure no environmental damage is done and investment into alternative and diverse sources of energy. Thorsland expressed his support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. On defense and homeland security, Thorsland said he would not support a travel ban from Ebola stricken countries, saying that current efforts to screen arrivals from those countries are sufficient. Thorsland supports an air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, saying that he would like to see the US work with countries in those areas to control the ISIS threat, and is against the sale of surplus military gear to local police. Thorsland supports some aspects of Obamacare, but calls it imperfect.

You can watch the entire, half hour long debate, on the audio/visual section of WJBDradio.com.


CHICAGO (AP) - Tests have determined that a child who had traveled from Liberia to Chicago does not have Ebola.

In a news release Thursday night, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Ebola Resource Network said preliminary tests - later confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - were negative for Ebola. The release says the child who reportedly vomited while traveling has been discharged from the University of Chicago Medical Center. 

The child was one of two people traveling from Liberia to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport who were taken to area hospitals and placed in isolation as a precaution. 

The adult as removed from isolation at Rush University Medical Center after doctors determined the patient's mild symptoms were attributable to previously diagnosed typhoid fever.  




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