In a complicated and horrible story, a baby was found and resuscitated after being pulled out of a car drowning in a lake. The car belonged to mother Cristy Lynn Campbell, whose body was recovered at the scene, mere hours after the Campbell home was set on fire. The husband is believed to have perished in the fire, while Campbell’s 6 other children managed to run to safety.
It is not yet known who started the fire, but suspicion points towards Campbell. When firefighters managed to fight off the blaze and account for the family members, they found the six children, but Campbell and the infant baby were missing.
The Daily Mail has more:
The chain of events all began at 5:15 a.m. in Glen Carbon, Illinois, about 30 miles east of St Louis, when a fire broke out at a home owned by Cristy Lynn Campbell.
Sheriff John Lakin said the person killed has not been identified, but Campbell’s estranged husband and the father of the children, Justin Campbell, has not been accounted for.
Six children, ranging up to age 14, all escaped.
Surveillance video obtained from a neighbor showed an SUV’s headlights switching on in the driveway of the house around 4:50 a.m., and several minutes later it backed out of the driveway.
About three minutes later, a reflection from the flames of the burning house could be seen on the side of a nearby house, according to STL today.
Some of the children ran to a nearby Wal-Mart, others to a home in the neighborhood. The kids at the Wal-Mart asked an arriving worker to call 911, Lakin said.
Police could not enter the house until the fire was fully put out, and the body was removed mid afternoon on Thursday.
Cristy Campbell was not in the home when firefighters arrived nor was the couple’s infant son.
At 5:31 a.m, a motorist passing near Silver Lake in Highland, Illinois, about 16 miles from the home, saw a car heading down a hill toward the water and called 911, Lakin said.
Highland paramedic Todd Zobrist arrived quickly, jumped into the 46-degree water and swam 50 to 75 feet to the SUV, where he found the baby floating inside the car. He pulled the baby by the arm to the hood of the SUV, where he began CPR, then swam with the child to shore.
Court records showed that Cristy Campbell and Justin Campbell, 37, had a volatile relationship.
In 2005, before they were married, Justin Campbell was charged with domestic abuse for allegedly attacking Cristy Campbell, then known as Cristy Brueggemann, by slapping her in the head when she was pregnant. He was sentenced in March 2006 to probation and fined $500.
Despite the violence they married on Nov. 3, 2006. She filed for legal separation in September 2010, but the matter was dismissed two months later.
In April 2012, Cristy Campbell obtained an emergency protection order against her husband and filed for divorce, alleging in court papers that he ‘abuses me on a weekly basis,’ including punching and choking her.
‘He has told me that I’m a no good wife,’ Campbell wrote in her application for the protection order.
The divorce was granted in February 2013.
Despite these reports, a manager at Bob Evans restaurant in Collinsville, where Justin Campbell was an employee, said the staff is distraught, and told STL today that Campbell was ‘an outstanding guy who loved his kids’.
Lakin said Glen Carbon police have answered several calls to Campbell’s home, including some ‘domestic-related situations,’ but he declined to elaborate.
‘The Glen Carbon Police Department was aware of that house,’ Lakin said.
Authorities said the children are with Illinois authorities and will be placed with relatives.