The woman at the center of a mysterious, deadly family tragedy was found dead in an Illinois lake on Thursday, several hours after paramedics saved her 3-month-old infant who was found floating in her SUV. And her estranged husband has been identified as the person who did not escape a fire at her home earlier the same day.
Cristy Campbell, 32, of Glen Carbon, Illinois, was pulled from Silver Lake late Thursday morning following a tragic series of events that claimed her life and that of her estranged husband, Justin Campbell, who police identified Friday afternoon, dead of a gunshot wound to the head and badly burned in the fire. No one else at the home was hurt in the fire.
According to KDSK, just before dawn on Thursday, several of Campbell’s children were caught on surveillance video running from their Glen Carbon home just after it appeared to have caught fire, and not long after an SUV pulled out of the driveway.
The news station reports that some of the children ran to a nearby Walmart in order to call 911. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the caller told the 911 dispatcher that someone still may have been in the house. According to a timeline provided by the newspaper, the vehicle pulled out of the driveway at 4:50 a.m. and three minutes later, flames were seen coming from the home.
About a half hour later, and almost 20 miles away, a witness reported seeing an SUV drive into Silver Lake. Paramedics arrived quickly on the scene and found a 3-month-old infant, reportedly “lifeless,” floating inside the partially submerged vehicle. Highland Fire Department EMT Todd Zobrist reportedly pulled the baby from the water and performed CPR on the roof of the vehicle, saving its life.
According to KSDK, the infant is expected to make a full recovery.
While there was no sign of the car’s driver at the time, a gun was found in the vehicle. Police launched a search for Campbell and named her a person of interest in the house fire. Several hours later, at around 11:15 a.m., her dead body was found about 400 feet from where she entered the lake.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cristy and her husband Justin Campbell, who is believed to be the father of her children who range from 3 months to 14 years old, were divorced in 2012. But a neighbor told the newspaper that she believed Justin was living in the Glen Carbon home. And according to Cambpell’s Facebook page, the entire family appears to have gone on a resort vacation last month.
The couple is believed to have had a tumultuous relationship. At a news conference Thursday, Glen Carbon Police told reporters they have responded to about 50 calls at the house since 2010, including domestic calls.
According to the Belleville News-Democrat, the Madison County Coroner Investigator said it will not be possible to compare the bullet that killed Mr. Campbell with the weapon found in Cristy’s car.