On December 16, 2011 in the small town of Emington, Illinois five people, including three children, were found shot to death at a home. This small town is only approximately 15 minutes away from my hometown. I have actually babysat the children right next door to this particular home. It is located northeast of the county seat of Pontiac, Illinois, and southeast of Odell and Streator, Illinois, west of Kankakee about 45 miles south of the Joliet area, north of Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana. In this particular town everyone knew everybody. It is a population of only 120 residents. These types of incidents were unheard of. No one ever locked their homes or ever imagined that this type of tragedy could happen to their small town.
The incident happened at approx 2:36pm right after the mother picked up her children from being let out of school early for Christmas break. The Livingston County police dispatch received a call from a neighbor after hearing shots fired. Deputies arrived and secured the scene and reported there were five victims. Later identified by county coroner Micheal Burke was 30-year-old Sara McMeen, 29-year-old Daniel Warren, 8-year-old Skyler Lemke, 7-year-old Ian Lemke and 10-month-old Maggie Warren. Sara McMeen was the mother of all three children, and Daniel Warren was her live-in boyfriend. According to ABC 7 News, the family had just moved to Emington in the last few months. Authorities "found the bodies of Sara, the 10-month old baby, and the 8-year-old girl all in the back yard of their home at the 100th block of S. Street, stated ABC 7 News." They found the bodies of Daniel Warren and the young boy in another location nearby. The boy was in kindergarten, the girl in second grade and the baby less than a year old.
Reports indicate that the incident was a murder-suicide. Sara McMeen was the sole shooter of the other four victims before taking her own life. "Autopsy results revealed that McMeen died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the neck from a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun that was found in her hand, stated ABC 7 News." The bullets from the weapon matched those found in Warren, who was shot in the back and the head, and the children, who were all shot in the head. Skylar reportedly had numerous wounds. A neighbor was interviewed and she stated that she saw McMeen minutes prior to the shootings holding the baby in a blanket crying and the neighbor asked her "if everything was alright" and McMeen replied back "no everything is not alright" and then bent down and shot her baby. The neighbor stated that she ran for her life.
Reports later revealed that McMeen suffered from Bipolar disorder but wasn’t on any medication. This incident just boggles my mind. I don’t understand how someone can be Bipolar and not be on any medications. Also, after doing some further research on this case I found that the McMeen's father had shot and killed his wife several years prior to this incident and go away with it. I don't understand how a family like this goes untreated. It is scary to think that there are families like this in the world. I also found that McMeen had a FOID card. I just find this scary that a woman who is diagnosed as Bipolar can still have a FOID card. Overall, I find this tragedy very sad and disheartening. I hope that in the future we can start monitoring the use of FOID cards. I often wonder to myself if McMeen didn’t have access to her gun would she still have done this particular incident?
Dwight, IL (The Paper) Newspaper