The Latest: Man found dead in burned home was shot in head

AP News
Posted: Mar 17, 2017 5:43 PM
The Latest: Man found dead in burned home was shot in head

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on a body being found and a child being rescued from a lake near St. Louis (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Authorities say a man found dead during a southern Illinois house fire had been shot in the head, and that a gun was found in his ex-wife's SUV after the vehicle plunged into a lake.

The Madison County coroner released preliminary autopsy results Friday for 37-year-old Justin Campbell. Firefighters found his body after responding to the blaze Thursday at a house where he lived with his ex-wife, 32-year-old Cristy Campbell.

The fire was reported about 15 minutes before her SUV was seen driving into a nearby lake. The Campbells' infant son was rescued from the submerged SUV by a paramedic, and six other children survived the house fire.

Christy Campbell's body was found hours later in the lake.

Coroner Steve Nonn says a gun was found in the SUV. But he says testing can't be done to determine whether the gun was used to shoot Justin Campbell because the bullet that struck him hasn't been found.


3:35 p.m.

The paramedic who swam into a southern Illinois lake to save a baby says he briefly questioned his decision to jump into the frigid water, but is glad he did.

Paramedic Todd Zobrist spoke at a news conference on Friday, a day after jumping into 46-degree water at Silver Lake near St. Louis and saving 3-month-old Julian Campbell.

Zobrist says he swam about 75 feet and thought a doll was floating inside the SUV, but realized he was holding a baby when he reached inside the vehicle. Zobrist performed CPR on the roof of the SUV, then swam the infant to shore. The baby is expected to survive.

Authorities say the boy's mother was driving the SUV that plunged into the lake Thursday morning, about 15 minutes after a fatal fire erupted at the family's nearby home. The mother, 32-year-old Cristy Lynn Campbell, was found dead in the lake hours later.


9:15 a.m.

A woman found dead in a lake near St. Louis where an infant was rescued hours earlier has been identified as the child's mother.

The coroner in Madison County, Illinois, released the information Friday as investigators try to untangle the events that preceded the death of 32-year-old Cristy Lynn Campbell.

A fire broke out at her home around 5:15 a.m. Thursday in nearby Glen Carbon, Illinois. Six children escaped, but an adult died.

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Coroner Steve Nonn says an autopsy will be conducted Friday to positively identify the person killed in the fire. Campbell's ex-husband, 37-year-old Justin Campbell, is unaccounted for.

About 15 minutes later, an SUV was spotted driving into Silver Lake, about 16 miles away in Highland, Illinois. A paramedic found Campbell's 3-month-old son in the car and saved him.


12:30 a.m.

Authorities have praised the actions of a fast-thinking paramedic who dove into a frigid Illinois lake and saved an infant from a submerged SUV.

Madison County Sheriff John Lakin says a motorist called 911 Thursday morning to report a car heading down a hill toward Silver Lake in Highland, Illinois.

Paramedic Todd Zobrist arrived on the scene and swam toward the SUV, where he found a baby floating inside. He pulled the baby onto the hood of the vehicle and administered CPR. The child was then taken to a hospital.

Lakin says the baby is expected to make a full recovery. Highland Emergency Medical Services chief Brian Wilson called Zobrist's actions heroic.

Authorities later recovered two bodies in related incidents. One was recovered from the lake and the other after a house fire.